From the list on startling encounters with mental illness.
Who am I?
When my older sister died, I felt a pressing need to tell her story. Rachel was a strong, courageous woman, who endured decades in a psychiatric system that failed her. She was a survivor, but the stigma of severe mental illness made her an outcast from most of society. Even so, her enduring passion for poetry inspired me to write about her. I sought out other people’s stories. I enrolled in workshops and therapy. I devoured books and blogs by survivors, advocates, and family members. Everything I read pointed to a troubling rift between the dominant medical model and more humane, less damaging ones. This list represents a slice of my learning.
Deborah's book list on startling encounters with mental illness
Why did Deborah love this book?
I first read this novel when I was ten. Pages had fallen out and even though I later found intact copies, I read it over and over to fill the gaps in my understanding.
How I loved the way Jane took charge of her fate with such intelligence, the way she captured Rochester’s heart without demeaning herself. But oh that madwoman she encountered in the attic. What did Jane make of Bertha, this “clothed hyena?”
Unlike Rochester, she didn’t blame Bertha for her violence. And while she understood Rochester’s dilemma she couldn’t agree to stay with him. In an intolerable situation, I learned, you can love a person and still leave them. Then Bertha dies in a fire she sets, allowing the couple to marry. But I never took that tacked-on ending very seriously.