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Speaking of Sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness Paperback – 1 Mar 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (1 Mar. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195113861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195113860
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 1.5 x 13.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 422,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"The millions of people who suffer hard and long with excruciating depressions will recogise themselves in these pages....Speaking of Sadness provides an open challenge to wrestle with the difficult questions." The New York Times

About the Author

David A. Karp is Professor of Sociology at Boston College. His earlier books on cities, everyday life, and aging reflect his enduring interest in how people invest their daily worlds with meaning.

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Nothing so concentrates experience and clarifies the central conditions of living as serious illness. . . . Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you or a family member or friend suffers then this is a good book to read. It doesn't offer advice, but simply documents people's individual experiences in a solid and sensible way, without falling into the trap of being too anecdotal. It reflects the different tones and shades of what it means to suffer, and makes it clear that everyone will have a different experience. Well worth having if you need/want to know more about what it may mean to experience depression.
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By Louise on 28 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These kind of books generally have me wanting to throw them across the room in disgust at not 'feeling better' yet. Every page of this had me wanting to read another, I could barely perform the basic day to day chores but in reading this book, I was able to feel connected to others, there are others out there that really get it and know the struggle.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A sensitive and well-written personal and sociological account of the suffering of depression. Karp manages to bring the two aspects together (the first person perspective and the sociological) in a mutually enriching way. Very readable and highly recommended!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 20 reviews
43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
The most helpful book on depression I have ever read 16 Jun. 2004
By Seehorse72 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I borrowed this book from my local library before purchasing it to be sure it wasn't just another one of those preachy books encouraging those of us who struggle with depression to just get over it, that it will eventually subside. David Karp is honest about depression as an illness, which is totally on-point considering he suffers from it himself. The words he has written echo through my head each day, and have helped me in a tremendous way. He analogizes depression as a sort of mental arthritis, something we will just have to learn to live with. He doesn't make false promises of overcoming the problems associated with the illness. He is honest, and describes his own experience in ways that I related to immediately. One of the hardest things about depression is a feeling of isolation because not everyone in our immediate circle of friends can understand it if they've never experienced it. The narratives in this book have helped me more than I can put into words here in the mere fact of knowing I am not the only person to feel this way. I highly recommend this book to anyone who suffers with depression.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
A must-read for the "intelligent" depressive 10 July 2001
By Susan C. Slepski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While not offering neat/sappy cures for depression (a do this, do that approach), Karp does provide relief merely in his description of experiences someone suffering with depression has...profound insights that ring true for the commonality in dealing with this illness/condition.
As an individual suffering from periodic bouts of major depression, I found his insights mindblowing as I had never attributed these "traits" as part of the depression itself, but as part of my "unusual history." While hard to explain to the "average" and "normal", someone who has undergone the misery of depression would surely find resonance and comfort in Karp's remarkable work.
Lastly, I would recommend not digesting this book DURING a visit to the abyss as it is a bit heady (and usually concentration is a HUGE ISSUE at those times), but definitely read it after the bright lights turn on again.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Academic View of Illness 15 Feb. 2002
By Sharon E. Cathcart - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Karp is a sociologist who examines depression from a cultural point of view. Folks looking for a "quick cure" are not likely to be satisfied with this particular outing. However, folks looking to understand how society views those with depression, how folks with depression view society, and how the illness can also impact family members ... this is the place to go. I read this book as part of a medical anthropology curriculum ... an ethnography of an illness ... and found it to be quite enlightening. I have been in and out of treatment for depression myself over the years, and finding that so many people had similar experiences of reconstructing their self-view as a result of the illness was quite useful. Again, this book is definitely not a "quick fix" or "feel good" kind of book ... it's one that looks at the nitty-gritty of one of the country's most prevalent illnesses and examines the minutiae therein.
53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
THANKFULLY, NOT ANOTHER TWELVE-STEP PROGRAM! 7 Sept. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I FOUND THIS BOOK TO BE NOT ONLY REFRESHING IN THAT IT DOESN'T MAKE EMPTY PROMISES, BUT ALSO UNUSUALLY SENSITIVE IN THAT IT CONVEYS TO BOTH THE DEPRESSED AND THEIR LOVED ONES THE SENTIMENTS OF AN "ALTERED REALITY" THAT ONLY A DEPRESSION SUFFERER CAN KNOW. THIS BOOK WAS EXTRAORDINARILY HUMANISTIC, WHICH UNFORTUNATELY SEEMS TO BE THE EXCEPTION IN AN ALL-TOO CARELESS SOCIETY. (KARP UNDERSTANDS THIS TO BE THE CASE AS HE SO SKILLFULLY DEMONSTRATES THROUGH HIS WRITING.) I AM GRATEFUL TO SUCH AN AUTHOR THAT RE-ESTABLISHES A PERSON'S HUMANITY AS A PRIORITY, REGARDLESS OF OVERSIMPLIFIED LABELING THAT OFTEN EVEN FURTHER DIMISHES A DEPRESSED PERSON'S GENERAL CREDIBILITY (NOT TO MENTION THE VALIDITY OF THEIR ANGUISH) WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND EVEN MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. I ESPECIALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE WHO IS SICK TO DEATH OF CASUALLY BEING ASKED THE CLUELESS QUESTION "SO, WHY ARE YOU DEPRESSED?" HAND THEM THIS BOOK SO THEY CAN BE FURTHER EDUCATED NOT JUST ABOUT THE COMPLEXITY OF DEPRESSION AND ITS "CAUSES", BUT OF THE HUMAN CONDITION IN ITS ENTIRITY.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Excellent 25 Mar. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The best book I've read on depression. Makes you realise that there's no magic medicine and that the illness will always be there - a fact I've found it difficult to come to terms with. Still he goes further and says how you have to live with this. No magic solutions, which, in my opinion, made it much more helpful than any book that promises to help you instantly overcome depression by simply being more cheerful.
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