An eye-opening and humane book treatment of a difficult subject.

HELLO I WANT TO DIE PLEASE FIX ME

DEPRESSION IN THE FIRST PERSON

A Toronto-based Reuters journalist examines her struggles with depression within a larger narrative about mental health and its treatment.

Paperny first tried to kill herself in 2011 by drinking antifreeze. Just 24 years old, the author seemed destined for success. She was writing for the Globe and Mail, her “dream newspaper,” and had the love of a supportive family. However, a profound self-hatred continued to push toward self-annihilation for years after her first attempt. In this multipart memoir/depression exposé, Paperny tells the story of how she fought her way back to functionality while exploring treatment options and the experiences of fellow depression sufferers within the North American mental health system. First—and with a generous dose of sardonic humor—the author traces a journey to (relative) wellness that took her through several hospitals and crisis units. In the second section, she discusses the “fourteen different drugs in dozens of different combinations” she tried to combat her disease, none of which succeeded in completely eradicating her symptoms. She also examines other surgical options, such as electroconvulsive therapy and electrode implantation, and discusses the reasons why pharmaceutical companies have been reluctant to invest more in the development of new depression drugs. In the third part, Paperny explores the stigma associated with depression by presenting stories of men and women from a variety of backgrounds and how that stigma affected their lives. The author also looks at the way the mental health system is biased in favor of white and affluent patients and how rates of suicide have spiked among adolescents in the last decade. Paperny concludes with a brief section about the many troubling legal and ethical questions that can arise—e.g., “deciding when someone’s too crazy to make decisions”—as a result of hospitalization. In this well-researched, engaging, and highly readable text, the author demystifies depression and calls for “compassionate, equitable [and] informed” care for what has become “the most fatal psychiatric phenomenon we’re up against.”

An eye-opening and humane book treatment of a difficult subject.

Pub Date: April 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61519-492-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: The Experiment

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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