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

By Norah Vincent
Read by Tavia Gilbert

9.05 Hours 01/13/2009 unabridged
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Norah Vincent’s bestselling book of investigative journalism, 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. Vincent’s new journey takes her from a big-city public hospital to a private 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 dynamics between caregivers and patients.

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Summary

Summary

Norah Vincent’s bestselling book of investigative journalism, 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.

Vincent’s new journey takes her from a big-city public hospital to a private 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 dynamics between caregivers and patients.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“[The] blurring of roles creates an interesting ambiguity. Vincent attempts to speak both with the authority of a commentator who has researched the American psychiatric system from the outside, and with the psychic vulnerability of someone experiencing it from within…She has to be mad enough herself to render the experience, but not so mad as to lose the plot.” Guardian (London)
“What could easily have turned into a preachy, holier-than-thou memoir…is saved by Vincent’s unabashed honesty…It’s this understanding, combined with Vincent’s charming humor, that makes Voluntary Madness such a compelling read.” Entertainment Weekly
“In narrating Vincent’s infiltration (and exposé) of three mental health institutions, Tavia Gilbert, the very versatile performer of both children’s and adult audios, strikes all the right notes. She neutrally notes the author’s observations of the various environs and delivers an outraged denunciation of the subhuman living conditions and sympathy for the hapless inmates, who, unlike Vincent, rarely if ever escape the system. Gilbert’s tone is firm and brisk; a perfect vessel for the depressing litany of indignities to which the mentally ill are subjected. The skillful narration will help even the queasy wend their way to the end of this important work.” Publishers Weekly
“Vincent’s discussions of daily life, treatment approaches, observations of patients and staff, and commentary on the over-reliance of medication and the nature of mental illness itself are fresh and valuable.” Library Journal
“What began as an investigation into psychiatric practices and questionable diagnoses, within the broader context of modern American culture, morphed into a personal exploration of mental stability. In this sometimes harrowing and sometimes humorous account, Vincent recalls her stay at three mental-health facilities…A riveting and enlightening look at mental-health treatment.” Booklist

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Norah Vincent

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, New Republic, Village Voice, and the Washington Post. She lives in New York City.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/Biography & Autobiography
Runtime: 9.05
Audience: Adult
Language: English