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Big Books Reviews

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

Big Books Issue 2001

Next of Kin Rick Bragg Gives His Family Tree Another Shake in Ava's Man | By Frank Diller

Speak, Memory Bashed By Oprah and Other Tales From the Memoir Trade | By Wendy Ward

The Little Girls Understand . . . Perhaps little girls are behind the popularity of memoirs. Long before the American Girls books, bef...

First Persons A Sampling of the Best Modern Memoirs

I'm With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie Better than the recent ego-stoked memoirs of the musicians she aspired to, uhh, know, "Miss Pamela"'... | By Stacey Mink

Goodbye to All That First published in 1929, this memoir by the poet and novelist (I, Claudius) remains the most immedia... | By Mahinder Kingra

Autobiography of a Face Poet Lucy Grealy survived cancer and wrote a book about it, like other fortunate hundreds before and... | By Lee Gardner

Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica Though dirt poor and living in total obscurity when she died in 1960, Zora Neale Hurston had spent d... | By Afefe Tyehimba

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness Kay Redfield Jamison undertook to write about her personal experiences with manic depression after s... | By Eileen Murphy

Survival in Auschwitz: The Nazi Assault on Humanity Primo Levi's memoir of his 10 months in Auschwitz is a masterpiece of Holocaust literature--not simp... | By Sandy Asirvatham

Harpo Speaks! Whether Harpo Marx's 1961 autobiography qualifies as a memoir is open to question, given that there'... | By Adele Marley

Angela's Ashes: A Memoir Frank McCourt was born in Brooklyn in 1930, but his parents reversed the usual Irish-American immigr... | By Heather Joslyn

Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness At the start of this Memoir of Madness, novelist William Styron is about to receive the prestigious ... | By Eileen Murphy

My Own Country: A Doctor's Story Born of Indian parents and raised in Ethiopia, Abraham Verghese could hardly find a place less his o... | By Eileen Murphy

By Eileen Murphy | Posted 9/26/2001

Kay Redfield Jamison

Kay Redfield Jamison undertook to write about her personal experiences with manic depression after she had investigated and explained the illness from every other vantage point--as a researcher, as a clinician, as a student of the arts. All of that background shows in this well-written memoir from 1995, but the strength of the book is Jamison's willingness to have the professor of psychiatry take a back seat to the moody and intense woman. She manages to make the reader understand why manic-depressives go off their medication--they know the damage their illness will cause but yearn for their previous intensity of emotion like an addict craves a drug.

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