- Paperback: 570 pages
- Publisher: Black Swan (2 Jan. 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0552998133
- ISBN-13: 978-0552998130
- Product Dimensions: 19.3 x 13 x 3.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,489,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Mount Misery Paperback – 2 Jan 1999
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"'An engrossing read...darkly entertaining...One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest for the 90s'" (San Diego Union Tribune)
"'Provocative, complex and disturbing...[Shem] writes with enough passion that we care and enough wisdom that we are able to understand'" (American Oxonian)
"'Outrageously funny...a sage and important book'" (The Boston Globe) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
A blackly comic tour de force which does for psychiatrists what Catch-22 did for war. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Now, Shem (and the pseudonym's understandable, if not forgiveable) takes on the psychiatric establishment. Anybody who has worked in psychiatry, anywhere in the world, will find elements of truth in Mount Misery, and anyone who has fought against a lot of the stupidity and dogma portrayed so starkly in this book and carried on regardless, will find that the novel's central ethos, expressed particularly in the last few chapters, will get right up his or her nose. Shem tackles various theoretical viewpoints, artfully portrayed as the hero, Dr Roy Basch, whom many of us encountered in the first book, rotates through different placements in his first year as a psychiatric resident (equivalent in most respects to the senior house officer or SHO grade in Britain). The author systematically and vividly rips apart the thinking underlying the blind adherence of so many psychiatrists to two of the most pervasive doctrines, namely the psychodynamic (broadly, Freudian) and phenomenological (mainstream or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)). He concludes that effective psychiatry consists of 'connecting' with the patient in a way that he leaves relatively undefined.Read more ›
Mount Misery continues on chronologically from House of God, so it makes sense to read them in that order, if you fancy both.
Dr Roy Basch, shell-shocked and battle scarred from his stint in the House of God hospital decides to specialise in psychiatry, hoping for a quieter life and a chance to regain his shattered faith in the medical profession. The novel charts his journey through the fairground hall of mirrors that is Mount Misery mental hospital.
Fasten your seatbelts, and prepare for a wild ride through the crazy world of the head-doctors who are truly mad, bad and dangerous to know!
Mount Misery is a gem, luring you in with laugh-out-loud gallows humour, then hitting you over the head with what really goes on in modern psychiatry, and the outrages against humanity perpetuated daily on the most vulnerable amongst us.
As someone who has a fair amount of insider knowledge, I was delighted that Shen chose to reveal and condemn some of the more distasteful habits some shrinks choose to indulge in- it certainly cheered me up no end!
Highly effective is Shen's enthusiastic depiction of many of the faintly ridiculous theories that abound within the profession, creating scenarios both surreal and absurd, a kind of psychiatric Magical Mystery Tour, which manages to be shocking and blackly entertaining in equal measure.
I found the concluding passages slightly irritating, but that is a minor issue, and does not detract in the least from the book as a whole.
Mount Misery is a heady mix of wild comedy and dark truths, and a thoroughly enjoyable read. Stuck for a present to give the shrink in your life? Look no further!Read more ›
For the British reader the novel provides a chilling insight into the working of an insurance based health care system, with the perpetual struggle of the medics trying to get funding for the care of particular from the apparatchiks at the Insurance company or the Health Maintenance Organisation who authorise the payement for their health care forming a recurrent theme. Since primary care groups are HMOs by another name, is this novel a warning of what those working in hospitals in England & Wales are going to have to face up to as the latest set of health service reforms start to bite?
This is an excellent book that should be read by everyone involved in training young doctors, young doctors in training (any specialty, not just psychiatry), in providing or managing health services or who might finish up needing to claim on their health insurance.
MOUNT MISERY is billed as a dark comedy. And perhaps the first half of the book is just that. Then it becomes decidedly more serious - Bergman's indictment of what he perceives as the flaws, and indeed malpractice, within institutionalized mental health care: assembly line admissions with diagnoses designed to mine the maximum in insurance payments, over-reliance on unproven drug regimens to make patients "better", the emphasis on fund raising rather than medicine, the superegos of the "experts" that focus on appearances in medical journals and at international seminars instead of compassionate patient care, and the total hogwash (to Bergman, apparently) of Freudian analysis. Indeed, the author's criticism of institutional psychiatry evolves to a very sharp point, i.e. the sexual abuse of patients by their physician therapists, and the protection of the latter by the medical establishment. This is not the stuff of humor, dark or otherwise.
I still might have given MOUNT MISERY four stars but for several reasons.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Working in healthcare, I identified with the author's other book, House of God and thought I would like this sequel. Read morePublished 19 months ago by John Scott Hardie
Really funny book caricaturing fictional psychiatrists that are totally one track minded regarding their particular theoretical bents. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Adnan Haque
starts off interesting
then gets bogged down
but finally has the feel of a good thriller
worth struggling to the end
a bit heavy going
not as much fun as the house of god
the sex is intrusive
If you are considering buying this book after enjoying The House Of God then beware. Unlike it's excellent predecessor Mount Misery is a disappointing read. Read morePublished on 10 Oct. 2011 by justanothershrink
This should be required reading reading for anyone contemplating a career in psychiatry or any of the "helping professions". It is witty and wise.Published on 2 May 1999