Each person in class must choose to read a book that is a first person account of a mental illness. After you have read your book, you will complete an assignment worth 100 points summarizing and discussing what you read.
You may choose your autobiography from a list of pre-approved books below (some of which may be available to you at your local library or through amazon.com). Or you may choose to read an alternative autobiography of mental illness, but you must email me a description of the book and get my approval before proceeding. If the book is not approved by me prior to the due date, you will not receive credit for completing the assignment.
* I have a limited number of the books listed below on my reserve at the EMCC library. First come, first served!
Book Report Length
Your paper should be typed in Word and must be at least 1000 words (approximately 4 pages), Arial font, and double spaced.
Your report will be due in week 10/module 10.
Book Report Grading
Review the Book Report Rubric for specific criteria to include in your report and the grading scale based on the quality of the report.
? The organization of your book report will vary depending on the content of your book. It is expected that the organization of the report is clear and well structured. Include an appropriate introduction and closure to the report, and demonstrate an overall clinical understanding of the specific disorder.
? The following categories (summarized in the rubric) must be addressed: historical details, clinical description, and content, treatments, and your personal reaction.
? If you choose to discuss the conclusion of the book, it should be at least one paragraph and separate from your personal reaction.
? Your personal reaction of the book should be at least one paragraph. Do not include this in the conclusion of the book. It should clearly be a separate part of your report.
? Your paper should include a title page, and be free of convention and spelling errors.
Generally speaking, it would make sense to include background information, early experiences that may have played a role in the etiology, onset or course of illness as well as protective factors (for example, if someone had a family history of mood disorder but it was addressed openly and proactively in the family, this would account for both risk and resilience). Discuss the signs and symptoms of the illness and how each aspect of the author?s life was impacted. Discuss treatment(s), the impact of treatments, and recovery.
Other topics that may be covered in your report include:
? What was the author?s early life like? What factors created a risk for mental illness? What protective factors were present?
? What were early signs of the illness?
? When did the full-fledged disorder develop?
? What were the symptoms?
? What was the course (did it occur in several different episodes or was it consistent?)
? What treatments were tried? To what effect?
? How did the recovery occur?
? Are there residual symptoms or issues?
? For Night Falls Fast- please write like a regular research book report- what are the statistics, warning signs, risk factors, methods, prevention efforts, etc.
To make your paper shine, consider submitting it paper for editing and feedback at either EMCC Online Writing Center or through Smartthinking.
Click the link for more information about where you can go to receive feedback and editing suggestions for your paper:
Autobiography Book Report Rubric
(10-9) Needs Improvement
(8-5) Poor or Absent
Structure Sentences and paragraphs are clear and well structured. Structure may be present, but order and writing are unclear. Lacking sufficient structure or transitions in sentences and/or paragraphs.
Closure Introduction/closure grabs and draws audience in. Introduction/closure is present but lacking structure. Either the introduction or closure are not evident.
Clinical Understanding Shows awareness of the details of mental illness. Shows effort. Some understanding is present, but word choice and use is inappropriate. Lacks understanding of mental illness and/or no evidence that care was taken to write the report from a clinical angle.
Historical Details & Content Historic details are sufficient to understand development of illness. Some relevant details provided. Inadequate amount of details.
Clinical Description The description is clear, focused and easy to follow. The description is somewhat hard to follow. Writing is confused and the description of symptoms not fully present.
Treatments Treatments and the author?s reaction are thoroughly described. Either the reactions or the treatments themselves are not thoroughly described. Neither the treatments nor the author?s reactions to them are well described.
Personal Reaction Sufficient space is allotted to a personal reflection and reaction to the book (at least one paragraph) Adequate use of word choice. Inadequate use of word choice.
Title Page Includes Title, Author, Student name and date of report. Title page is missing one or more elements. No Title Page.
There are no spelling errors. There are one to three spelling errors. Four or more errors.
(commas, quotes, parts of speech) There are no errors. One to three convention errors. Four or more convention errors.
Manic: A Memoir by Terri Cheney
From Publishers Weekly
Cheney, a former L.A. entertainment lawyer, pointedly dispels expectations of a safe ride through this turbulent account of bipolar disorder. With evocative imagery?time-shuffled recollections meant to mirror her disorienting extremes of mood?Cheney conjures life at the mercy of a brain chemistry that yanks her from soul-starving despair to raucous exuberance, impetuous pursuits to paralyzing lethargy. Caught in a riptide of febrile impulse, she caroms from seductions to suicide attempts while flirting recklessly with men, danger and death, only to find more hazards in the drastic side effects of treatment. More than a train-wreck tearjerker, the memoir draws strength from salient observations that expose the frustrations of bipolar disorder, from its brutal sabotage of romance and friendship to the challenge it poses to the simplest emotions, such as the terrors of being happy that augur mania’s onset. Though she sustains an ominous mood and relays horrifying incidents with icy candor, Cheney lightens up at times, as when she marvels at the ease of masking her condition at an office that brings out everyone’s manic side. But the narrative hopscotch frustrates readers’ need for grounding and context that might clear up Cheney’s muddled history and satisfy readers’ urge to learn the fallout of her impulse-driven episodes. Her startlingly lucid descriptions of illness merit a more concise chronology.
An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
In Touched with Fire, Kay Redfield Jamison, a psychiatrist, turned a mirror on the creativity so often associated with mental illness. In this book she turns that mirror on herself. With breathtaking honesty she tells of her own manic depression, the bitter costs of her illness, and its paradoxical benefits: “There is a particular kind of pain, elation, loneliness and terror involved in this kind of madness…. It will never end, for madness carves its own reality.” This is one of the best scientific autobiographies ever written, a combination of clarity, truth, and insight into human character. “We are all, as Byron put it, differently organized,” Jamison writes. “We each move within the restraints of our temperament and live up only partially to its possibilities.” Jamison’s ability to live fully within her limitations is an inspiration to her fellow mortals, whatever our particular burdens may be. –Mary Ellen Curtin
The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn Saks
?The Center Cannot Hold? may be the best source of first hand information about the experience of having schizophrenia that has ever been published. Despite having florid psychosis at many times, and for prolonged periods, through the luck of the nature of the genetic endowment she has, excellent and varied therapists and friends, and finally optimal pharmacotherapy, she has been able to have a brilliant career in law and also write this book. In it you will find poignant and insightful descriptions of the development of her illness in childhood and adolescence and how she was able to perservere to achieve success in academic studies, work and personal life that few people without mental illness ever attain?
Darkness Visible by William Styron
In 1985 William Styron fell victim to a crippling and almost suicidal depression, the same illness that took the lives of Randall Jarrell, Primo Levi and Virginia Woolf. That Styron survived his descent into madness is something of a miracle. That he manages to convey its tortuous progression and his eventual recovery with such candor and precision makes Darkness Visible a rare feat of literature, a book that will arouse a shock of recognition even in those readers who have been spared the suffering it describes.
She?s not there: A life in two genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan
Boylan, English professor and author of the critically acclaimed novels The Constellations (1994), The Planets (1991), and Getting In (1998), began life as a male named James Boylan. In this autobiography, she details her lifelong struggle with her burgeoning femaleness and the path she followed to become a female, both physically and mentally. For 40 years, the author lived as a man, seemingly happy and even marrying a woman and fathering two children. At a certain point, though,she realized that she couldn’t suppress her desire to live as a female and so eventually went through all the steps to become female, including sexual reassignment surgery. There is something troubling about Boylan’s lighthearted tone, and while she hints at it, there is no really clear depiction of the havoc this transition must have wreaked on her married life (Boylan’s wife was clearly devastated) and on her children (who at times refer to her as boygirl or maddy). But Boylan’s well-written and informative book is a worthy contribution to the body of work on this subject. Kathleen Hughes
Copyright ? American Library Association. All rights reserved –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Night Falls Fast by Kay Redfield Jamison
Providing historical, scientific and other helpful material on suicide, Jamison (An Unquiet Mind), a Johns Hopkins psychiatry professor, makes an excellent contribution to public understanding with this accessible and objective book. There is, she asserts, a suicide every 17 minutes in this country. Identifying suicide as an often preventable medical and social problem, Jamison focuses attention on those under 40 (suicides by those who are older often have different motivations or causes). Citing research that suicide is most common in individuals with mental illness (diagnosed or not), particularly depression and manic depression, she clearly describes the role of hormones and neurotransmitters as well as potential therapies, including lithium and other antidepressants. Jamison presents fascinating facts about suicide in families and in twins, gender disparities, and the impact of the seasons and times of day. She also provides poignant portraits of those who have committed suicide from the explorer Meriwether Lewis to a high-achieving Air Force Academy graduate as well as stories from her own experience. Historical perspective on how different societies have viewed suicide gives context, especially on methods and common locales (in the U.S., San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge is the most popular spot). Critical of her profession for not recognizing suicidal tendencies more readily, Jamison scolds the media and firearms industry as well. The book effectively brings suicide out of the closet, gives general readers insight into symptoms and should increase national awareness of the problem. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.