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any good fiction books on mental health

(65 Posts)
NotYoMomma Mon 28-Oct-13 15:26:22


I have been really interested recently in psychology and mental health, both historically, fictionally, and in real life.

books I have found interesting are 'the interpretation of murder' - I loved reading about freud and Jung in a fictional sense

and 'the ghost road' by pat barker - I enjoyed reading about shell shock back in the day (the equivalent of ptsd?)

I loved K-Pax (the whole trilogy!) and found it utterly utterly fascinating.

does anyone have any other recommendations for me please?

Hobbes8 Tue 29-Oct-13 15:11:14

Prozac Nation, which is a memoir rather than fiction I think, but I enjoyed it.

Agree with the Bell Jar, and what about some Virginia Woolf?

Hobbes8 Tue 29-Oct-13 15:15:52

Ooh and I've just remembered The Yellow Wallpaper, which is a fantastic story/novella. Charlotte something something - I forget.

PinkFairyArmadillo Tue 29-Oct-13 15:16:14

Lisey's Story by Stephen King

MrsCakesPremonition Tue 29-Oct-13 15:19:24

Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood is very good - talking about the mother's mental health from the perspective of her daughter.

Takver Tue 29-Oct-13 16:33:28

I'd second The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Not fiction, but 'Girl, Interrupted' is well worth reading.

The Yellow Wallpaper is superb.

Digestive28 Tue 29-Oct-13 18:23:17

There is a website... (I think, may have to google it but it is very similar to that!). I met someone who ran it as part of a research project at a conference and think it's quite good. It gives a whole list of mental health fiction books, but what is useful is it has extracts and reviews so helpful before you buy. They are often looking for new reviewers to volunteer.

coffeeandcream Tue 29-Oct-13 18:39:54

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hannah Green is on my bookshelf waiting to be read. I believe it is about a girl with schizophrenia and the delusions she has.

Scarred by Sophie Andrews (the head of the Samaritans) is one if the most harrowing reads I have ever struggled through. That said I couldn't put it down and will never forget it.

SinisterSal Wed 30-Oct-13 11:16:30

Wally Lamb is quite good as I recall.

I know This Much Is True deals with severe schizophrenia and the impact on the patient's family including on their mental health.

She's Come Undone deals with eating disorders and depressive disorders.

Both very compassionate towards everyone involved

headoverheels Wed 30-Oct-13 19:50:56

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides - one of the characters is a manic depressive.

Also The Heart Shaped Bullet by Kathryn Flett - not fiction, but an account of the breakdown of her marriage (which includes a mental breakdown) which I found fascinating.

LEMisafucker Wed 30-Oct-13 19:57:18

Marking place - some interesting ones on here

Sebastian Faulks wrote a brilliant story about schizophrenia - Human TRaces.

Have just finished "the psychopath test" can't remember who it was by but i'll leave you to decide if its about mental "illness" it was an eye opener!

Cotedazuer I have downloaded Umbrella, i forgot i had it on there, i gave up in the first chapter, its a bit of a stream of conciousness thing and i struggled with it. I did like "My Idea of Fun" by will self though - disturbing!

Definately some interesting reads on here - I am interested as i suffer from anxiety/depression but i also find the mind an interesting place to explore.

Not fiction but this was v interesting.

LEMisafucker Wed 30-Oct-13 19:59:09

Oh yes, and i forgot "girl interrupted" i don't know how becuase it was brilliant and i read it in one sitting - partly because my hours commute turned into a four hour slog due to some idiot putting a shopping trolley on the tracks smile I got to finnish my book - result smile

neolara Wed 30-Oct-13 20:00:06

"Girl interrupted" was good.

colafrosties Wed 30-Oct-13 23:19:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ahardyfool Wed 30-Oct-13 23:22:48

Second Wally lamb suggestion. Also, 'A Spot of Bother' by mark haddon

skolastica Fri 01-Nov-13 13:51:59

Susan Howatch 'Starbridge' series - very very good on the mind/religion/spirituality thing. Some of it is like being in a counselling session.

TheWanderingUterus Fri 01-Nov-13 14:32:28

Antonia White - Beyond the Glass. I can't see if anyone else has suggested that, but its very good

I can suggest lots of non-fiction (doing a phd in women/madness) if you are interested but all the fiction I was going to suggest has been suggested, pretty much.

Stevie77 Fri 01-Nov-13 14:51:16

Sebastian Faulks' Engelby and Sister by Rosamund Lupton

BasketzatDawn Fri 01-Nov-13 17:32:12

Poppy Shakespeare - by Clare Allan
Alastair Campbell's All in the Mind
Marian Keyes' recent novel The Mystery of Mercy Close has depression as a theme
Her baking book is good too - includes bits on depression - Saved by Baking

BasketzatDawn Fri 01-Nov-13 17:36:06

And Sylvia Brownrigg's novel The Delivery Room has a therapist as the main character, with Balkans war as background, so a bit of trauma there too.

CircassianLeyla Sun 03-Nov-13 11:33:29

The WanderingUterus - I am doing my dissertation on women and feeble mindedness and would be extremely interested in your recommendations.

TheWanderingUterus Sun 03-Nov-13 12:25:26

Related to women and mental/physical health:

Mad, bad and sad by Lis Appignanesi
Hysteria by Andrew Scull
The female Malady by Elaine Showalter
Women and Madness by Phyllis Chesler
Hot flushes, cold science by Louise Foxcroft
The technology of Orgasm by Maines
A history of women's bodies by Shorter
Agnes's Jacket by Hornstein
Freud on women by Elizabeth young-Bruehl
Nymphomania by groneman
Menstruation and psychoanalysis by Lupton
Medical muses by hustvedt (although she misses out the whole sex side of hysteria it is a good read)
Women of the asylum by Geller and Harris
The curse by Delaney et al is a good introduction to menstrual madnesses.

Madness in general

From paralysis to fatigue by shorter
The lives they left behind by Darby Penney
Presumed curable by Gale and Howard
Asylum bound by Townsend
Gentle asylum by Andersen
Gracefully insane by beam
Inconvenient people by wise
Customers of the mad trade by scull
Psychiatry for the rich by MacKenzie
Psychiatry for the poor by Hunter and Macalpine
Bedlam by Arnold (I think) is very readable.

The Showalter and Apignanesi are the best general ones IMO. Apologies about lack of capitals etc, did it on my Ipad in a rush. Would love to hear more about your dissertation Circassian.

CircassianLeyla Sun 03-Nov-13 12:39:07

Oh super thanks. Don't want to hijack but loosely it is about early 20 century infanticide in Britain. I can't click in your name to PM. Would be delighted to hear about your research too.

NotYoMomma Sun 03-Nov-13 12:48:32

this is really cool smile thank you so much for the recommendations! the non fiction suggestions look intriguing too so I will definatley have a look at those too!

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