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Download Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Loony Bin, by Norah Vincent Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,781 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Norah Vincent Narrator: Tavia Gilbert Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2009 ISBN: 9781455190652
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Norah Vincent’s bestselling book of investigative journalism, Self-Made Man, ended on a harrowing note. Suffering from severe depression after her eighteen months living disguised as a man, Vincent felt she was a danger to herself. On the advice of her psychologist, she committed herself to a mental institution.

Vincent’s new journey takes her from a big-city public hospital to a private facility in the Midwest and finally to an upscale retreat down south as she analyzes the impact of institutionalization on the unwell, the tyranny of drugs as treatment, and the dysfunctional dynamics between caregivers and patients.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[The] blurring of roles creates an interesting ambiguity. Vincent attempts to speak both with the authority of a commentator who has researched the American psychiatric system from the outside, and with the psychic vulnerability of someone experiencing it from within…She has to be mad enough herself to render the experience, but not so mad as to lose the plot.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “What could easily have turned into a preachy, holier-than-thou memoir…is saved by Vincent’s unabashed honesty…It’s this understanding, combined with Vincent’s charming humor, that makes Voluntary Madness such a compelling read.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “In narrating Vincent’s infiltration (and exposé) of three mental health institutions, Tavia Gilbert, the very versatile performer of both children’s and adult audios, strikes all the right notes. She neutrally notes the author’s observations of the various environs and delivers an outraged denunciation of the subhuman living conditions and sympathy for the hapless inmates, who, unlike Vincent, rarely if ever escape the system. Gilbert’s tone is firm and brisk; a perfect vessel for the depressing litany of indignities to which the mentally ill are subjected. The skillful narration will help even the queasy wend their way to the end of this important work.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Vincent’s discussions of daily life, treatment approaches, observations of patients and staff, and commentary on the over-reliance of medication and the nature of mental illness itself are fresh and valuable.”

    Library Journal

  • “What began as an investigation into psychiatric practices and questionable diagnoses, within the broader context of modern American culture, morphed into a personal exploration of mental stability. In this sometimes harrowing and sometimes humorous account, Vincent recalls her stay at three mental-health facilities…A riveting and enlightening look at mental-health treatment.”

    Booklist

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Amy | 2/8/2014

    " Three stars because it held my interest, but I sort of want to give it fewer stars because she is so irritating, and irritating self-involved, and falsely self-deprecating, and phonily self-aware. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tiffany | 2/1/2014

    " Very interesting look into the different types of mental health support and services. I liked it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ashleigh | 1/27/2014

    " I would definitely rank this book with the same level of respect as Self-Made Man. Vincent dives into the world of psych wards, as not only a journalist but as someone who is seeking mental stability. Looking at an issue from the inside, and the conclusions she draws remind me a lot of my time in East Garfield. I wonder if experiences with any people group labeled with second-class citizen status deliver us to similar conclusions about personal choices and systematic drain and injustice. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brooke | 1/26/2014

    " I think this book was a good effort to portray the different types of therapies and facilities that really by chance and budget, a person would have the options to. But overall...a little boring and phallic (the author REALLY has a dirty mind) and I'm not sure if it's intentional or not...but always seems to come through in her writing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jenny | 1/24/2014

    " This sounded like it would be a good read, but I disliked it completely and barely finished it. The author's views on the mentally ill, her treatment and struggle with her own mental issues, and her overall recounting of her experience at multiple facilities were not insightful, nor were they even remotely sensible or humane. I was planning on reading her previous book, but no thanks. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sophie | 1/23/2014

    " It was a pretty good read however Norah Vincent would go into long long long existential tangents and I felt like I was in Philosophy class. Other than that it was a pretty good inside to life in the ward. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Regina | 1/13/2014

    " Fascinating for anyone in the mental health field, particularly on the inpatient side. I read this very slowly & thoughtfully & it gave me a new perspective into some of my work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jacey | 12/19/2013

    " Although parts were tedious to read, I enjoyed this overall. I remember thinking the author sounded pretentious during certain passages. However, placing herself in situations like this, I imagine it would be hard to remove expectations. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Darrick | 12/12/2013

    " It was interesting that the crap that happened in "One flew over the cuckoos nest" still happens today. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Snem | 11/17/2013

    " I was disappointed and expected more. The author raised some interesting points and questions, but she seemed so arrogant and I just didn't like her. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Buffy | 9/27/2013

    " I think I enjoyed her previous book, "Self-Made Man", more than this one. Maybe this was just a heavier subject. But voluntarily committing herself to three different kinds of mental health facilities was an interesting idea. Even though her writing kind of bugged me at times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 7/5/2013

    " A great idea, but not as great as it could be. Would loved to have seen more places and more facts. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cyndi Agathocleous | 6/7/2013

    " A well written and very personal account of three different types of mental health facilities. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kyle | 4/30/2013

    " seemed very repetitive, could not finish it... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erin | 4/19/2013

    " Writing isn't very good, author is self-absorbed, but there some snack for thought. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 8/19/2012

    " You can help yourself, if you will it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Fran | 6/26/2012

    " I had hoped for more. The book seemed pretty indulgent. There really was no awesome insight or shocking realities revealed. It was just the author poking at her own issues and playing with a flawed system of mental healthcare. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Seamus | 5/3/2011

    " Not as good as Self Made Man, but still extremely engaging and well worth the read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maryanne | 4/28/2011

    " Very direct and often humorous look at life in the mental health treatment system. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lori | 4/3/2011

    " I was hoping for more lurid tales of life in a mental institution (morbid, I know.) but this book was rather tame. I was disappointed. At least I bought it on sale. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 3/19/2011

    " I could relate a little too well to this book. And while I disagreed with alot of the author's beliefs on mental health care, it was a very interesting expose on the range and quality of care available. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becky | 3/2/2011

    " Not as good as the other book, but still interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam | 2/12/2011

    " I thought it was going to be more of an expose, but it turned out to be a personal, sometimes sad and angry, journey through depression and life during/after.

    I was very pleasantly surprised. "

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