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The Yellow Wallpaper

Narrated by: Jo Myddleton
Length: 35 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (72 ratings)

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Summary

In this classic late-nineteenth-century story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a new mother suffering from what we might today call 'post-partum depression', is diagnosed with a nervous disorder.

Instructed to abandon her intellectual life and avoid stimulating company, she sinks into a still-deeper depression invisible to her husband, who believes he knows what is best for her. Alone in the yellow-wallpapered nursery of a rented house, she descends into madness.

Public Domain (P)2008 Summersdale Publishers Ltd

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Fascinating, disturbing and thought-provoking

A dark, intriguing short story, and very well-read in this Audible version, which captures how a lack of understanding of depression leads one woman deeper into the neurotic recesses of her mind. Brilliantly executed, the author relies on repetition, imagery and symbolism to portray the narrator's declining mental health, whilst borrowing on Gothic characteristics that chill and unsettle the reader. An unnerving yet compelling read that still has contemporary relevance, as it raises questions about how well mental health issues are understood and supported even today.

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The Yellow Wallpaper Review

The Narrator was excellent! I really enjoyed the story. It was fascinating yet weird at the same time

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Joy
  • Grayshott, Surrey, United Kingdom
  • 30-07-08

Goosebumps

When I first read this remarkable story I was overwhelmed with sadness and sympathy. Although written back in the 1890s, one could make parallels today about misinterpreted and misdiagnosed conditions which could easily mirror this poor woman's situation. Jo Myddelton reads with complete empathy for her character's dilemma and her tones, initially perfectly acceptable and 'normal' become so subtly altered it gave me goosebumps. A remarkable performance indeed.

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  • ESK
  • 29-12-13

Unnerving and disturbing

When I first listened to the story a year ago, I was deeply moved and shaken. It took me so much time to listen to it again. I must say it's not just a spooky story of a woman showing signs of incipient madness, as it might seem. It's a protest against quack psychiatrists of the 19th century, who instead of curing patients ended up complicating their mental illness.
The story is autobiographical. Being unstable, C.P. Gilman suffered from nervous breakdowns herself. She turned to a physician, whose treatment methods proved to be ineffective. C.P. Gilman was subdued to the domestic sphere, was allowed to have only two hours' intellectual stimulation, and was prevented from working. Deprived from normal life, she nearly slipped into insanity. Only when Gilman returned to work, did she manage to recover.
As Charlotte Perkins Gilman put it, the story "was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people from being driven crazy".

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Em
  • 02-05-12

A Visceral Reaction

Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s novella is one of those stories that reminds me to be thankful that I live when I do. It's about a woman who is suffering from postpartum depression before postpartum depression existed. Instead, women suffered from “exhaustion,” “a case of nerves,” or (the best gender-specific illness of all time) “hysteria.” She submits to the forced regime of rest prescribed by her doctor husband, and the inactivity and removal from her child throws her headfirst into a depressive spiral. Especially strong in audio - the narration here is gentle, real, and creepy all at once. Jo Myddleton’s voice begins calm and rises in desperation as the protagonist descends into madness. The panic and claustrophobia is tangible. You’ll get angry. You’ll want to protest something. Your inner-feminist (guys too - you know she’s in there) will awaken. It’s awesome.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Holly Helscher
  • 16-03-09

A story understood best when an adult

This is one of those short stories some high school literature teachers have students read as a "classic". Yes, it is a classic, but can only be fully understood and appreciated when one is an adult. Psychologically speaking, anyone can go mad if presented with the right circumstances. Some escape those circumstances; others do not. This is the case of the main character of this short story. Post-partem depression linked with a controlling husband linked with separation from the outside world force this young bride and mother into a world that only she can see and comprehend. And while the outside world sees her as having gone mad, from her perspective she has only tried to free herself, and does so. The listener sees it step-by-step and it makes sense. The other characters, practically ignoring her throughout the story see her at Step A and then again at Step Z and to them it makes no sense at all, adding to the tragedy. It is a well written, well read tale.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 16-12-14

Excellent reading

A really excellent reading of this iconic short story - the reader gives a very polished performance in which she gradually builds in intensity to match the increasingly hallucinatory nature of the prose. This reading would be a great way to experience the story for the first time or to re-experience it in a new light.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Darklordofcats
  • 08-03-13

day dream in a book

What does Jo Myddleton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Her dreamy sing song like voice was perfect for this book.

If you could take any character from The Yellow Wallpaper out to dinner, who would it be and why?

The lady behind the print.

Any additional comments?

Its like entries from a diary so not much depth just watching voyeuristic exports of a womans descends into madness

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Virginia Waldron
  • 19-11-08

Great Story

Beautifully read and very absorbing story. I enjoyed it and have replayed it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicole
  • 17-04-14

What did I just listen to?

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, because I want to know what their reaction is.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Yellow Wallpaper?

The end. I was creeped out and almost hypnotized by the slow descent into complete madness. I knew what happened, but at the same time was thinking "what did I just listen to?"

Have you listened to any of Jo Myddleton’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have never listened to her before, but she was a perfect fit for this narration in my opinion.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicci
  • 24-05-17

love this short story!

so well written. the narrator is perfect for this story she portrays the character in the perfect way. her slow decline into insanity makes you want to keep listening and it draws you in. If you want a short story to make you think then this is the one for you!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lara Weinheimer
  • 20-09-16

Fantastic and weirdly creepy

Would you listen to The Yellow Wallpaper again? Why?

Oh, I will definitely listen to this again. It is a short story of a married woman who has a mental illness. She is stuck in one room of the house, staring at some ugly wallpaper. As she becomes more psychotic, the wallpaper takes on interesting characteristics.

Any additional comments?

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a creepy story, or anyone who is interested in mental health. This is the best rendition of psychosis that I have ever seen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dani Smith
  • 11-04-15

I don't get it

But I think that means I need to read it again. Definitely a mind bender. Gilman reminds me a bit of Lovecraft's style, abstract and using plays on perspective to create uncertainty and doubt. Also reminiscent of the Spanish Modernist style of the late 19th century, the confusion caused by loneliness and helplessness made me think of El Hijo by Horacio Quiroga. Good read! Good reader too!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful