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Paperback: 376 pages
Publisher: Other Press LLC; New edition edition (31 Mar. 2002)
I read this book about 10 years ago, and I have never forgotten it. This review is written from that memory, an indication of the impact it had on me. It is an amazing true story about Mary Barnes, a middle aged woman who gradually sinks deeper and deeper into her own madness, and how, with the commitment and friendship of one psychiatrist in particular, she is gradually regressed back to her childhood to revisit her demons, and learn to 'grow' again. This book is written from the perspective of both parties, and is not only a unique insight into mental illenss, but also shows how the road to recovery must be a journey shared, and that sometimes the smallest step really is a leap forward.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
between pills and people10 Oct. 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Some say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Here the path to insanity is paved with a will to make children but a lack of milk for them and then they are fed with good food "spiked" with nightmares and conditioned that someone's company is determined by withholding physiological functions or impulses to the extreme...In a way the idea is "there is no mother for naughty children".
Reading the book I ended up surprised that the father or another man can be more caring than a woman...It looks like the path to sanity is starting with taking care of the body however nasty it can be at the beginning and it means getting your hands dirty if the outcome has to be some creative brilliance. According to a myth goddess Athena was born from Jupiter's head. Here Mary's sanity was born due to some men who had patience with her. In a way the book confirms what Melanie Klein describes in her writings about disturbed children where the mother is always stuck in a kind of "making babies" mode but what happens with them afterwards is a kind of "devil may care".
Throughout this story someone can realize that the "chemistry" between people involves acceptance of the person as a whole with all their needs and greeds if they got stuck in some kind of deprivation. Some may wonder how long a journey to sanity can take. To be driven mad it takes a whole childhood so whoever is prepared to bring the childhood back the outcome can be a human person nearby.