Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin

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Penguin, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 287 pages
14 Reviews
The journalist who famously lived as a man commits herself- literally

Norah Vincent's New York Timesbestselling book, Self-Made Man, ended on a harrowing note. Suffering from severe depression after her eighteen months living disguised as a man, Vincent felt she was a danger to herself. On the advice of her psychologist she committed herself to a mental institution. Out of this raw and overwhelming experience came the idea for her next book. She decided to get healthy and to study the effect of treatment on the depressed and insane "in the bin," as she calls it.

Vincent's journey takes her from a big city hospital to a facility in the Midwest and finally to an upscale retreat down south, as she analyzes the impact of institutionalization on the unwell, the tyranny of drugs-as-treatment, and the dysfunctional dynamic between caregivers and patients. Vincent applies brilliant insight as she exposes her personal struggle with depression and explores the range of people, caregivers, and methodologies that guide these strange, often scary, and bizarre environments. Eye opening, emotionally wrenching, and at times very funny, Voluntary Madnessis a riveting work that exposes the state of mental healthcare in America from the inside out.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing

I can't write an effective review of this. ? Not least because every reader will absolutely react to it differently, because of the different kinds of experiences we all have with the mental health ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - amaraduende - LibraryThing

I did not a) like the way this author writes. She turns phrases in an attempt be clever but usually just ends up writing something at best tangential to her main point. b) really like this author as a person. I did finish this book, which says something, but I wouldn't recommend it. Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Norah Vincent is the author of the New York Times bestseller Self-Made Man. Previously, she wrote a nationally syndicated op-ed column for the Los Angeles Times. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, The Village Voice, and The Washington Post.

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