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An Unquiet Mind  By  cover art

An Unquiet Mind

By: Kay Redfield Jamison
Narrated by: Kay Redfield Jamison
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Publisher's Summary

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.
©1995 Kay Redfield Jamison (P)2010 Random House

Critic Reviews

"From Kay Redfield Jamison - an international authority on manic-depressive illness, and one of the few women who are full professors of medicine at American Universities - a remarkable personal testimony: the revelation of her own struggle since adolescence with manic depression, and how it shaped her life. With vivid prose and wit, she takes us into the fascinating and dangerous territory of this form of madness - a world in which one pole can be the alluring dark land ruled by what Byron called the 'melancholy star of the imagination,' and the other a desert of depression and, all too frequently, death." (Amazon.com review)

What listeners say about An Unquiet Mind

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story
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  • 4 Stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

It Says Unabridged. That is incorrect.

I downloaded this title today, so I'd have a copy when I return the borrowed paper book version I have. It quickly became apparent that there are parts missing, so I began reading along and this is certainly *not* the Unabridged version.
On a single page several paragraphs were chopped in half. The book, which has four parts, has been whittled down to three. Someone, somewhere, has a very loose definition of unabridged.
Still, I'm enjoying what I hear. I just wonder what I'm going to miss from the continuation of the audiobook.

65 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Heavily Abridged!!!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This book is five stars, but the audiobook is roughly half of the paper book. Well done, read by Jamison herself, but leaves out a lot of what makes the book great. You still get the core of the story, and it makes sense, but you loose all the little details and other pieces that make this a wonderful story.

38 people found this helpful

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Audiobook deliberately skips many segments

What would have made An Unquiet Mind better?

To say nothing of the outstanding work and writing style of Dr. Jamison, this is a piss poor audiobook. I happened to have my paperback version (bought the book to stick notes in for a class I am in) on me when I was listening to the final parts, and I decided to try and follow along with her narration. I was shocked and disappointed to find that the narration skipped over parts of the book, sometimes mere sentences, other times multiple paragraphs of material. Upon further analysis, the parts skipped were typically detailed descriptions or otherwise not all that "necessary" information...but this shouldn't be something left up to audible to decide- why aren't they letting the listener hear the ENTIRE book? I feel seriously shortchanged by this, and I wonder how often they do it with the other books on this suddenly suspect website...

35 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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She co-wrote the "bible" on bipolar disorder

The first book I read by Jamison was "Manic Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression" that she wrote with Frederick Goodwin. 1262 pages. Although huge and technical, it is surprisingly readable. (I skipped all the parts comparing the drawbacks of different studies) It's the bible of bipolar disorder.

So this book was quite a change, a short and very personal book. I'm glad I heard it aloud and I'm glad she read it herself. I disagree with the people who found her voice dull and unemotional. That's what therapists sound like. If you listen carefully, you can hear the tiniest cracks in her voice when she talks about the losses in her life. Not unemotional. Dignified and subtle and heartbreaking.

One thing she says in the book that might interest Audible listeners is that she lost her ability to read when she was on a high dose of lithium. She'd read a paragraph, have no idea what it said, then have to read it again. And again. She had to have her boyfriend read aloud to her. Lowering her dose apparently helped improve her reading, enough to read and distill shelves full of difficult technical articles into "only" 1262 pages. A heroic accomplishment.

Most bipolars I've talked to say they have problems reading books - they can handle articles. They're not all on lithium, and those that are are not on high doses. I think it's a consequence of the disorder. Thank goodness we have Audible for popular books. I'd love it if Audible would offer her magnum opus, but it's an absurdly huge technical book with a limited audience. Maybe Amazon will loosen up on its "read out loud" feature so it's available not just on physical Kindles but on phones, pcs and macs.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The End

The end was truly beautiful. Every single word in this book reminds me of my own struggle with manic depressive illness.

12 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

What disappointed you about An Unquiet Mind?

Whole chunks of the book are missing. I bought the audiobook to help me stay concentrated as I read the actual book and it's not helping because I have to stop and figure out where its being read from. Whole paragraphs skipped. Very upsetting.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved this book

Richly written description of the very difficult life lead by a suffering manic-depressive. I highly recommend this book. Its not just a study on the illness, you get this great insight from a brilliant woman and its a riveting story of her life.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Good book considering topic

I give her a lot of credit for writing about herself. This book has potential to help a lot of people. Her voice is mundane, howerver.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting story

Tough subject but an interesting story. Not for everyone though. Likely best for those whose interest run in this area.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

No life in her voice

The narrator's voice is so droll that I couldn't get past the first hour. I usually find audio books about mental illness to be quite interesting, but this lady's voice grated on my nerves so much that I couldn't stand to listen to the whole thing. Granted, the subject matter in itself is a bit somber. Maybe I would enjoy it much more if I actually read the book instead.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • lily
  • 05-16-16

Read if you are bipolar- you will understand

I listened to it all in one day and not one point did I stop listening.
It was incredibly insightful, and moving for someone with bipolar
I cried at the end!!

3 people found this helpful

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  • Lenka
  • 09-29-21

Essential

If you read only one book about bipolar disorder, let it be this one.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MxHarris
  • 09-19-22

Beautiful and raw

I easily binged this book and could really feel the author's experience. A friend of mine was diagnosed with bipolar disorder this year and I also have a patient currently considering that she might have it, so wanted to learn more so I could better support them. Such a beautiful and raw book and I feel better educated about the disorder and how it feels. Thank you for writing this, Kay. I can only imagine what it was like to do so and I know my friend felt very seen by your words and experience.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-06-22

Fabulous story.

Fabulous story. Gives great personal insight into how mood disorder are actually 'illnesses' to be grappeled with.

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  • karen
  • 07-22-21

Easy listen.

A very easy listen to what life can be like with a Mental Illness from both the client and doctor perspective.

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  • David C
  • 03-17-21

so helpful and soothing

second time I've listened on the last two years. coming out of mania that's taken almost 3 years. Dr Jamison's experience with suicide on lithium saved my life. thank you Doctor

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-16-21

fascinating

A fascinating & overall joyful insight into the life experiences of a manic depressive .

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Iram Ansari
  • 12-01-19

Moving, engaging and honest

Kay redfield beautifully narrates her experience of life with bipolar affective disorder. She details the effects of this condition on her personal and professional life with eloquent and captivating descriptions.

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  • Antonio
  • 11-16-19

Extraordinary

This is one of the most moving, challenging and thought provoking books I’ve read in many a year. It is a story so well told because it has been lived, often painfully but always fully. It makes me think of the words of Mary Oliver
“I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world”

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  • Thalia
  • 09-20-19

Was not able to identify with this personal story

I found this very depressing because medication with lithium is portrayed as the cure or only way to survive.

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  • matthew
  • 10-28-15

A lot of repeated statements but over all a great

insight into the mind of someone with manic depression. listened to it all within 24 hours.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Katie
  • 11-13-21

Inspiring

As a health professional with bipolar disorder I don’t think I have ever related more to a story than this one!
Intriguing, joyful, heartbreaking… I loved this audiobook

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-09-21

Just fantastic. I so love Kay's writing.

Won't someone please narrate Touched With Fire? I so loved that book and would love to listen to it

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-03-18

brilliant personal memoir for those that struggleq

a brilliant personal memoir for those that struggle to understand and contemplate their own personal struggles... this book is evidence that you are not alone

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-15-18

Rewarding and Insightful

Kay’s ability to find the words and accurately depict the highs and lows of manic depressive illness are a gift to all who have come into contact with the illness. I am glad that she found the courage and dignity to tell her personal story and it is a tremendous help to others - very few are brave enough to articulate the harsh realities and positives of the illness in such a truthful and well considered way. Well done Kay and thank you very much for your very large contribution!

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  • Angela Haynes
  • 12-27-17

By a psychiatrist who has lived manic depressive illness since her teens

Insightful, in particular as it covers Kay's life with manic depressive illness since her teens, along her path of becoming educated and on to how it has both impacted and benefitted her professional development as a clinical and research psychiatrist.

The three words that come to mind are reality, clarity and hope. I enjoyed this story very much.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-05-17

Amazingly good to hear

Some parts were struggle to hear, because the book is so amazinly good. Explains so good about the effects that bipolar disease can have on one's life.