Optimistic, courageous, and surprising, Agnes's Jacket takes us from a code-cracking bunker during World War II to the church basements and treatment centers where a whole new way of understanding the mind has begun to take form. A vast gulf exists between the way medicine explains psychiatric illness and the experiences of those who suffer. Hornstein's luminous work helps us bridge that gulf, guiding us through the inner lives of those diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar illness, depression, and paranoia and emerging with nothing less than a new model for understanding one another and ourselves.
©2009 Gail A. Hornstein; (P)2009 Gildan Media Corp
At one point, late in the book, Hornstein eulogises "feminist" writing as non hierarchical, but having several centres. I frequently wondered what was the point? To parody, I was cycling through the market square in Cambridge. The flower seller waved at in my direction. Did she see me? Was she as preoccuppied with Agnes Jacket as I was? Would she have been as sanctimonious as me if she could have spoken to me in words, instead of waving? Would she have asked as many rhetorical questions? Was the florist even relevant to the point I was making? We will never know.
John's story weaved the mystic and the insane so closely, it reminded me of Icarus. Peter's and Nicky's stories were harrowing in their own way
Gavin has only two accents; Felicity Pippinsworth from plummy London or Hamish McTavish, a half drunk Scottish man doing shady deals in West Belfast. Both are preposterous. When not doing accents, her insistent inflections at teh end of every sentence are faintly condescending.
I would have cut out all autobiographical ramblings, all repetition, and credited the reader with some intelligence.
Some well made points, but seven hours of my life I will never get back.
I didn't know what to expect from this book at first. If you can get past the narrator's self-righteous delivery, it is an interesting listen. A decent narrative about the shortcomings of psychiatric 'medecine' and the reactions of psychiatric patients who have been exposed to the system. Provides some nice examples of how professionals can learn from patients. Worthwhile listen.
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