Friday, May 16, 2008

An Unquiet Mind, Memoir of Moods and Madness

An Unquiet Mind, a Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison is the story of a young woman's decent into mental illness and her struggle to not only survive but to thrive personally and professionally.

Jamison spends a good portion of her book on her professional life and how her bi-polar disorder was accepted and not accepted by colleagues and mentors. She does craft a sympathetic view of the thought processes and drivers behind behaviors of individuals living with this illness. Her descriptions of the manic highs are dizzying whirlwinds of activity and thoughts. The description of the depressive lows were a little less first person.

Her descriptions of the suicidal thoughts and justifications behind her personal attempt were unique and interesting. (For this BG member, provided a little relief regarding the suicide of a family member that occurred more than 30 years ago. Not a fresh wound, but a wound none the less.)

Our discussions centered on her story telling methods, the level of support needed to maintain , and a little grousing about her lack of build up of new "characters." She experiences a profound loss and within 5 pages is three years down the road. (I don't have my copy of the book so I'll beg forgiveness if my number of pages and years are off.)

Next up: Graham Greene. We're headed to the classics.

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