This is a story of depression a condition that reduced William Styron from a person enjoying life and success as an acclaimed writer, to a man engulfed and menaced by mental anguish. With profound insight and remarkable candor, Styron tracks the progress of his madness, from the smothering misery and exhaustion, to the agony of composing his own ...
This is a story of depression a condition that reduced William Styron from a person enjoying life and success as an acclaimed writer, to a man engulfed and menaced by mental anguish. With profound insight and remarkable candor, Styron tracks the progress of his madness, from the smothering misery and exhaustion, to the agony of composing his own suicide note and his eventual, hard-won recovery. Illuminating an illness that affects millions but which remains widely misunderstood, this book is about the darkness of depression, but it is also ultimately about survival and redemption.
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Dissappointing. It read like an assignment in his therapy and not a book to hold the interest of a reader.
Apr 21, 2011
What It's Really Like
The Pulitzer Prize winning William Styron writes about his own battle with severe depression. As one who has suffered this condition on and off for decades, I can tell you he gives the best description of depression I have ever read. An excellent book to recommend to families of anyone suffering depression, also. I highly recommend it. The main characters in his novels, including the renowned "Sophie's Choice", all suffered from this dibilitating condition.
You couldn't find a better read on the subject.
Dec 6, 2007
An informed and factual book for depression.
William Styron tells it how it is. He pulls no punches in spelling out an illness of depression leading to suicidal ideation. Styron describes the onset of depression to the point of coming back again out of the darkness. Darkness visible is very apt, but yet there are those ignorant to the fact, that depression is a very real debillitating illness for the sufferer. Styron deals with each stage of depression and the environment around him with extreme courage, being driven to suicide and how he deals with a life or death situation. Memoirs of madness being the secondary title, just about conjours it up. Styron, as others that suffer depression, believe they are stark raving mad and/or insane. Noone knows why a person suffers depression and becomes ill. Styron is able to give his account , which gives a better understanding without being too heavy or written with lengthy medical references to psychiatry. This book is an excellent book for those wishing to gain an insight into the subject of depression and a useful book for those also suffering from depression.
Publishers Weekly, 1990-07-13 A meditation on Styron's ( Sophie's Choice ) serious depression at the age of 60, this essay evokes with detachment and dignity the months-long turmoil whose symptoms included the novelist's ``dank joylessness,'' insomnia, physical aversion to alcohol (previously ``an invaluable senior partner of my intellect'') and his persistent ``fantasies of self-destruction'' leading to psychiatric treatment and hospitalization. The book's virtues--considerable--are twofold. First, it is a pitiless and chastened record of a nearly fatal human trial far commoner than assumed--and then a literary discourse on the ways and means of our cultural discontents, observed in the figures of poet Randall Jarrell, activist Abbie Hoffman, writer Albert Camus and others. Written by one whose book-learning proves a match for his misery, the memoir travels fastidiously over perilous ground, receiving intimations of mortality and reckoning delicately with them. Always clarifying his demons, never succumbing to them in his prose, Styron's neat, tight narrative carries the bemusement of the worldly wise suddenly set off-course--and the hard-won wisdom therein. In abridged form, the essay first appeared in Vanity Fair. (Sept.)
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