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Speaking of Sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness Paperback – April 24, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0195113860 ISBN-10: 0195113861 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Series: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (April 24, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195113861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195113860
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.6 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This sociological consideration of illness and disease in contemporary America comes from a professor (Boston Coll.) who uses his own suffering, treatment, and theory along with reports of 50 others who volunteered to talk with him about their major depressive episodes. Karp writes well, addressing psychological, chemical, and cultural perspectives, with much credit to C. Wright Mills, Erving Goffman, and Arthur Kleinman. Many psychiatrists would agree that too little attention is paid to the nature of the pain and the impact of social context on our definitions of normality and treatment. "Self-help" comes under fire, too, as shallow ideology in a time of advancing anomie. A careful, honest writer, Karp has produced a classic equal to William Styron's Darkness Visible (LJ 8/90) and Clifford Beers's A Mind That Found Itself (1908). Highly recommended for sufferers, would-be healers, and anyone interested in the effects of depression.
E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review


"The millions of people who suffer hard and long with excruciating depressions will recognize themselves in these pages....Speaking of Sadness provides an open challenge to wrestle with the difficult questions."--Martha Manning, The New York Times Book Review


"A careful, honest writer, Karp has produced a classic equal to William Styron's Darkness Visible."--Library Journal


"Finally a book from the inside...by a scholar who admits to knowing this aspect of the human condition in his own person and has seen beyond the superstition of the 'medical model,' expressed in the lived experience of real and beautifully articulate people who, like himself, have been there."--Kate Millett, author of The Loony Bin Trip


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Seehorse72 on June 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
I borrowed this book from my local library before purchasing it to be sure it wasn't just another one of those preachy books encouraging those of us who struggle with depression to just get over it, that it will eventually subside. David Karp is honest about depression as an illness, which is totally on-point considering he suffers from it himself. The words he has written echo through my head each day, and have helped me in a tremendous way. He analogizes depression as a sort of mental arthritis, something we will just have to learn to live with. He doesn't make false promises of overcoming the problems associated with the illness. He is honest, and describes his own experience in ways that I related to immediately. One of the hardest things about depression is a feeling of isolation because not everyone in our immediate circle of friends can understand it if they've never experienced it. The narratives in this book have helped me more than I can put into words here in the mere fact of knowing I am not the only person to feel this way. I highly recommend this book to anyone who suffers with depression.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Susan C. Slepski on July 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While not offering neat/sappy cures for depression (a do this, do that approach), Karp does provide relief merely in his description of experiences someone suffering with depression has...profound insights that ring true for the commonality in dealing with this illness/condition.
As an individual suffering from periodic bouts of major depression, I found his insights mindblowing as I had never attributed these "traits" as part of the depression itself, but as part of my "unusual history." While hard to explain to the "average" and "normal", someone who has undergone the misery of depression would surely find resonance and comfort in Karp's remarkable work.
Lastly, I would recommend not digesting this book DURING a visit to the abyss as it is a bit heady (and usually concentration is a HUGE ISSUE at those times), but definitely read it after the bright lights turn on again.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Sharon E. Cathcart VINE VOICE on February 15, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Karp is a sociologist who examines depression from a cultural point of view. Folks looking for a "quick cure" are not likely to be satisfied with this particular outing. However, folks looking to understand how society views those with depression, how folks with depression view society, and how the illness can also impact family members ... this is the place to go. I read this book as part of a medical anthropology curriculum ... an ethnography of an illness ... and found it to be quite enlightening. I have been in and out of treatment for depression myself over the years, and finding that so many people had similar experiences of reconstructing their self-view as a result of the illness was quite useful. Again, this book is definitely not a "quick fix" or "feel good" kind of book ... it's one that looks at the nitty-gritty of one of the country's most prevalent illnesses and examines the minutiae therein.
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
I FOUND THIS BOOK TO BE NOT ONLY REFRESHING IN THAT IT DOESN'T MAKE EMPTY PROMISES, BUT ALSO UNUSUALLY SENSITIVE IN THAT IT CONVEYS TO BOTH THE DEPRESSED AND THEIR LOVED ONES THE SENTIMENTS OF AN "ALTERED REALITY" THAT ONLY A DEPRESSION SUFFERER CAN KNOW. THIS BOOK WAS EXTRAORDINARILY HUMANISTIC, WHICH UNFORTUNATELY SEEMS TO BE THE EXCEPTION IN AN ALL-TOO CARELESS SOCIETY. (KARP UNDERSTANDS THIS TO BE THE CASE AS HE SO SKILLFULLY DEMONSTRATES THROUGH HIS WRITING.) I AM GRATEFUL TO SUCH AN AUTHOR THAT RE-ESTABLISHES A PERSON'S HUMANITY AS A PRIORITY, REGARDLESS OF OVERSIMPLIFIED LABELING THAT OFTEN EVEN FURTHER DIMISHES A DEPRESSED PERSON'S GENERAL CREDIBILITY (NOT TO MENTION THE VALIDITY OF THEIR ANGUISH) WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND EVEN MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. I ESPECIALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE WHO IS SICK TO DEATH OF CASUALLY BEING ASKED THE CLUELESS QUESTION "SO, WHY ARE YOU DEPRESSED?" HAND THEM THIS BOOK SO THEY CAN BE FURTHER EDUCATED NOT JUST ABOUT THE COMPLEXITY OF DEPRESSION AND ITS "CAUSES", BUT OF THE HUMAN CONDITION IN ITS ENTIRITY.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
The best book I've read on depression. Makes you realise that there's no magic medicine and that the illness will always be there - a fact I've found it difficult to come to terms with. Still he goes further and says how you have to live with this. No magic solutions, which, in my opinion, made it much more helpful than any book that promises to help you instantly overcome depression by simply being more cheerful.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
David Karp's book on depression is written in beautifully simple prose. His own battle with depression is interwoven throughout the stories of others, and the humanity and gentleness with which he portrays both speaks of a generosity of vision which preserves the sanctity of each person's story. There's no sociological-ese to distract from the stories, which is a delight for someone who- though an academic- tires of its exclusionary language. The courage it took to write this book-- as it is a "coming out" book of sorts-- is extraordinary, and that thought rests in the back of your mind as you read it, gathering inspirational power. As someone who has struggled with depression throughout my life, I felt a "resonance" with the souls represented in this book which at times had me in tears. Highly recommended-- both for those suffering from depression as well as academics.
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