Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin (Hardcover)
by Norah Vincent
Norah Vincent (Author)
From Publishers Weekly
Vincent's first trip to a mental institutionto which the writing of Self-Made Man drove herconvinced her that further immersion would give her great material for a follow-up. The grand tour consists of voluntary commitments to a hospital mental ward, a small private facility and a boutique facility; but Vincent's efforts to make a big statement about the state of mental health treatment quickly give way to a more personal journey. An attempt to wean herself off Prozac, for example, adds a greater sense of urgency to her second research trip, while the therapists overseeing her final treatment lead her to a major emotional breakthrough. Meanwhile, her fellow patients are easily able to peg her as an emotional parasite, though this rarely stops them from interacting with herand though their neediness sometimes frustrates her, she is less judgmental of them than of the doctors and nurses. The conclusions Vincent draws from her experiences tend toward the obvious (the better the facilities, the better chance for recovery) and the banal: No one can heal you except you. Though keenly observed, her account never fully transcends its central gimmick. (Jan.)
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