With Christmas approaching, perhaps your in-laws, your own parents, your kids, your brother, and your Uncle Merve are “driving you crazy.”
Put your problems into perspective with these three moving, classic books which explore the emerging world of clinical psychiatry:
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1964) by Joanne Greenberg is the semi-autobiographical, first-person tale of Deborah, a 16-year-old diagnosed with schizophrenia, who is institutionalized. Can her doctor help her quell the many cruel voices in her head? What sort of world will she re-enter when she eliminates the swirling ones in her mind?
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (1962) Remember this book from high school? It may be time to revisit it. Francesca recently did, and found that it was richer than she remembered. Kesey was inspired to write the book based on his experiences as an orderly in a psychiatric facility. The story, narrated by one of the patients, tells of Randle McMurphy, a sane man (played in the 1975 film by Jack Nicholson) who has himself transferred from a work farm to the mental-health facility thinking it is an easier way to wait out his prison term. There, he enters into a power struggle with the control-hungry Nurse Ratched, and helps the other patients regain their sense of dignity in ways their doctors fail to do.
Dibs in Search of Self (1964) This fictionalized story of a real patient, by psychologist Virginia Axline, inspired countless readers to become play therapists. Five-year-old Dibs is silent and withdrawn, refusing to play with other children or to speak. How can his doctor bring him out of his shell? (Francesca says: when reading this book, keep tissues nearby.)