Archive

Posts Tagged ‘mental health’

31. “Wasted” Marya Horbacher

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

A wrenching read.

Page count: 289
Page total: 10,165

29. “The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook,” Deborah Bray Haddock

October 12, 2011 1 comment

Page count: 265
Page total: 9,505

8. “Misery,” Stephen King

January 14, 2011 4 comments

Big time author Paul Sheldon celebrates finishing a new book– the first since he killed off the character, Misery CHastaine, who made him famous, but whom be grew to hate– with a bottle of champagne behind the wheel of his car in a blizzard. When his car spins out of control, he is pulled from the wreckage by Annie Wilkes, his number one fan. Annie nurses Paul carefully back to health, treating him as best she can with his badly mangled legs. Soon, though, Paul realizes that she is a dangerously ill woman and as her mental health slips, he finds himself more and more under her power. The two are locked into a battle of minds and wills Paul cannot afford to lose.

I meant to go to sleep more than an hour and a half ago. But I still had that much time left in this audio book and I could. not. stop. I legitmately let out a small, dry sob of terror somewhere near the end of the book. Okay, twice. Maybe three times. And there was one moment where I was so dizzy with fright I thought I might faint. I sunk my entire day into this book and don’t regret it.

If you listen to this audiobook, which I highly recommend, definitely listen to the version read by Lindsay Crouse, which is really well done and gives Kathy Bates a run for her money.

Page count: 352

Page total: 2,217

66. “Almost Home: My Life Story, Vol 1,” Damien Echols

October 9, 2010 4 comments

Damien Echols is one of three West Memphis teenagers tried and wrongfully convicted in the murder of three children. This book tells about Damien’s childhood, his constant harassment by the police department, the conditions of his imprisonment, his conversion to Zen Buddhism, and his marriage.

It just so happened that I read two books at the same time about the great shame of the US prison system. Damien contends that the reason that he was targeted by the police for these “Satanic” murders is that he was a poor outsider who wore black and had been hospitalized for a mental illness. Ever since an incident at work where they called the police on a woman who was obviously mentally ill, I’ve been bumping up against the entwining of the prison and mental health systems.

This was written on the endpages of the book:


A prison guard is life’s ultimate coward. They lack the bravery to be police officers and they have no balls when it comes to be a criminal. They are a parasite that sucks off both worlds. Read Titicut Follies, a documentary/book made by Harvard U students. A Film/book the “system” faught hard to consedle. Than draw your own conclusions. They walk a “cowards journey.”
The night before my release from MCI Bridgewater six guards entered my tiny cel in the middle of the night. They smelt of alcohol. They spit on me and tried to entice me, to respond, so I would looze my parole/release the following day. I sat on my bunk, my head down, and got punked off by my keepers. I walked out of Bridgewater the next day. That was Nov 2, 1989.
I can still smell the first guard who spit on me’s cologne.
Justice, ya right.
It’s now Sept 08.
Cheap cologne.

Pages: 168
Total pages: 19,017

22. “The Burn Journal,” Brent Runyon

April 14, 2010 Leave a comment

This is Runyon’s memoirs of a suicide attempt at fourteen and the next year of rehabilitative therapy. I found the first half of the book extremely difficult because I remember vividly what it felt like to be that sad. I had a pain in my chest while reading.

This book was very brave in that it not only talks about some very personal stuff (like, you know, setting oneself on fire), but family dynamics and, most personal of all, how shitty horribly depressed fourteen-year-olds are to their loving and concerned families. I was really pissed off at what a dick Runyon was to pretty much everyone he encountered in this part of his life but I think it was brave to show how the self-doubt and self-hatred spirals. I appreciated the really lackluster diagloge because it seemed so genuinely reflective of the not knowing what to say when it is clear someone is messed up (physically and emotionally, in Runyon’s case).

That said, I wish that there were more, even in just the afterword, about how a person goes from frequent suicidal gestures and one very dramatic attempt to an apparently well-adjusted, successful author. Though the memoir was really framed around Runyon’s school relationships, his return to mainstream school didn’t seem to be the end of the story. But who am I to argue with his experiences? I’m just always curious about that “what now?” That was (and is) the hardest part of my own mental illness. What do you do when you’re not in crisis mode? That’s the story I’m more interested in now.

Page count: 325
Page total: 5,388

58. “Shutter Island,” Dennis Lehane

August 31, 2009 Leave a comment

This was a pretty quick read. I liked it a lop better than the previous book I read by Lehane, “Mystic River.”

The story is set in the mid 1950s and is about two US Marshals, Teddy and Chuck, who are dispatched to an island that is home for the “criminally insane,” a bullshit phrase that implies that being crazy is criminal. Most patients are schizophrenic or have other serious mental illnesses and when one escapes, the Marshals are called to help to locate the patient. Along the way the discover some fucked up Nuremberg shit and have to try to figure out a way to get off the heavily-patrolled island. In the middle of a hurricane. It’s being made into a movie and looks pretty good. I secretly love Leonardo DiCaprio.

Lehane was, by the way, my undergrad commencement speaker. He was very good– both funny and poinant.

Page count: 400
Page total: 23,429