Tuesday, February 20, 2018

On women and mental illness

This post was taken from the Goodreads List “Women and Mental Illness."

I love books about feminism. I’m also really interested in books about mental illness. So this list caught my eye. I was kind of pleased with myself (though I still have some work to do…) because I’ve read 13 out the top 100 books - one of the higher percentages I’ve had on any Goodreads list. Still, this list gave me a lot more to read. Below are five of the books I’ve read from this list.

The Bell Jar

  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (#1) - (Synopsis taken from Goodreads) Sylvia Plath's shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel about a woman falling into the grip of insanity. Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.
    Oh, Sylvia Plath. I read this book at an age that it made an impression on me - specifically regarding casual sex, virginity, and suicide. This book was fascinating and dark and a really interesting and unique read. I highly recommend this and I can see why it tops this list.

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

  • An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness by Kay Redfield Jamison (#6) -The personal memoir of a manic depressive and an authority on the subject describes the onset of the illness during her teenage years and her determined journey through the realm of available treatments.
    I read this book fairly recently for a class on human development and social issues. This was a really interesting read - especially to see how bipolar treatment has changed throughout the years. 


  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare (#13)-  Promised a golden future as ruler of Scotland by three sinister witches, Macbeth murders the king to ensure his ambitions come true. But he soon learns the meaning of terror - killing once, he must kill again and again, and the dead return to haunt him. A story of war, witchcraft and bloodshed, Macbeth also depicts the relationship between husbands and wives, and the risks they are prepared to take to achieve their desires.
    I was initially surprised to see this so far up this list. But on reflection, Lady Macbeth is a (murderous) feminist, so she belongs here. I may need to reread to fully understand the mental health aspects of Macbeth.

Go Ask Alice

  • Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks (#17) - A teen plunges into a downward spiral of addiction in this classic cautionary tale. January 24thAfter you've had it, there isn't even life without drugs.... It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth -- and ultimately her life.Read her diary.Enter her world.You will never forget her. For thirty-five years, the acclaimed, bestselling first-person account of a teenage girl's harrowing decent into the nightmarish world of drugs has left an indelible mark on generations of teen readers. As powerful -- and as timely -- today as ever, Go Ask Alice remains the definitive book on the horrors of addiction.
    I read this book multiple times as a teen, partly at my mum’s suggestion (maybe she was trying to steer me away from drugs?). It’s an interesting and unique read. I don’t know that I’d want to read this again now.


  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare (#19) -One of the greatest plays of all time, the compelling tragedy of the tormented young prince of Denmark continues to capture the imaginations of modern audiences worldwide. Confronted with evidence that his uncle murdered his father, and with his mother’s infidelity, Hamlet must find a means of reconciling his longing for oblivion with his duty as avenger. The ghost, Hamlet’s feigned madness, Ophelia’s death and burial, the play within a play, the “closet scene” in which Hamlet accuses his mother of complicity in murder, and breathtaking swordplay are just some of the elements that make Hamlet an enduring masterpiece of the theater.

    Again, I’m surprised to see Shakespeare on here. And then I think of Ophelia and her problems and her eventual suicide and it makes so much sense. A great addition to this list.

What books on this list have you read? What books on this list are you interested in? What are your thoughts on this list? What Goodreads lists have you loved?


  1. I've read a grand total of 29 on the Goodreads list - very interesting to see your takes.

    1. You must read a lot more books than me or be a lot more dedicated to this topic! Way to go:)