10 Novels And Memoirs About Mental Illness

10 Novels And Memoirs About Mental Illness

Gain knowledge about the issues associated with mental health by reading these 10 novels and memoirs about mental illness.

1. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

“In Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny Lawson regaled readers with uproarious stories of her bizarre childhood. In her new book, Furiously Happy, she explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.”

2. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

“In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she’d never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years in the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele—Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles—as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary.”

3. The Sun King by Allison Lee Palmer

“A mother, her son, and mania. In this fictionalized memoir, a mother recounts the emotional journey she and her son take when he becomes mentally ill.”

4. Why Be Happy When You Can be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson

“It is full of hurt and humour and a fierce love of life. It is about the pursuit of happiness, about lessons in love, the search for a mother and a journey into madness and out again. It is generous, honest and true.”

5. Running with Scissors by Augusten Burrroughs

Running with Scissors is the true story of a boy whose mother (a poet with delusions of Anne Sexton) gave him away to be raised by her unorthodox psychiatrist who bore a striking resemblance to Santa Claus.”

6. Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron

“In the summer of 1985, William Styron became numbed by disaffection, apathy, and despair, unable to speak or walk while caught in the grip of advanced depression. His struggle with the disease culminated in a wave of obsession that nearly drove him to suicide, leading him to seek hospitalization before the dark tide engulfed him.”

7. An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

“In her bestselling classic, An Unquiet Mind, Kay Redfield Jamison changed the way we think about moods and madness. Dr. Jamison is one of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive (bipolar) illness; she has also experienced it firsthand.”

8. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under — maybe for the last time.”

9. Tender is the Night by Scott Fitzgerald

“In 1932, Fitzgerald’s wife Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was hospitalized for schizophrenia in Baltimore, Maryland. The author rented the La Paix estate in the suburb of Towson to write this story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychiatrist, and his wife, Nicole, who is also one of his patients.”

10. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

“Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.”

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THE SUN KING by Allison Lee Palmer