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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:
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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.”


Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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