Nothing Was the Same
By Kay Redfield Jamison
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307277893, 224pp.)
Publication Date: January 11, 2011
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Kay Redfield Jamison, award-winning professor and writer, changed the way we think about moods and madness. Now Jamison uses her characteristic honesty, wit and eloquence to look back at her relationship with her husband, Richard Wyatt, a renowned scientist who died of cancer. Nothing was the Same is a penetrating psychological study of grief viewed from deep inside the experience itself.
From the eBook edition.
Kay Redfield Jamison is the Dalio Family Professor in Mood Disorders and Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is co-director of the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center and a member of the governing board of the National Network of Depression Centers. She is also Honorary Professor of English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and the author of the national best sellers An Unquiet Mind and Night Falls Fast, as well as of Touched With Fire and Exuberance. Dr. Jamison is the coauthor of the standard medical text on bipolar illness, Manic–Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression, and the recipient of numerous national and international literary and scientific honors, including a MacArthur Award. In 2010 she married Thomas Traill, a cardiologist and fellow faculty member at Johns Hopkins.
This is a slim yet profound book, unadorned by fatuous spirituality, by a writer eager neither to conceal nor exaggerate her feelings. It gives grieving its complete due, and at the same time there's nothing at all depressing about it.
- How does the prologue set the stage for Jamison’s investigation into grief? What does it convey about the narrative method she has chosen to employ? Does her expertise as a psychologist color her description of her immediate reaction to her husband’s death?
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
“A cleared-eyed view of illness and death, sanity and insanity, love and grief. . . . Spare. . . . Poetic. . . . Piercing. . . . The great gift Jamison offers here, beyond her honesty and the beauty of her writing, is perspective. . . . To write the truth with such passion and grace is remarkable enough. To do this in loving memory of a partner is tribute indeed.”
—The Washington Post
“In An Unquiet Mind, Kay Jamison wrote with exceptional bravery and grace about living through mania, paralyzing depressions, and a suicide attempt. Here, with the same strength of mind and sweetness of spirit, she writes about her husband’s [death] as well as her own struggles with loss and grief. . . . Because Jamison understands depression so well, she is able to make the distinctions between depression and grief with great precision and sensitivity.”
—The Boston Globe
“Fascinating. . . . Captivating. . . . As one who has experienced clinical depression, [Jamison] is in a singular position to compare it with grief . . . . In this slim, intense memoir Jamison shows us that mourning leads us back to life.”
—Michael Greenberg, The New York Times Book Review
“A meditation on grief as necessary and inevitable, and not to be confused with mental illness. . . . Insightful. . . . Elegantly written. . . . It’s a credit to the warmth and intimacy of Jamison’s voice that we connect with her underlying message: Tragedy doesn’t discriminate.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Elegiac and emotionally precise.”
—O, The Oprah Magazine
“A wonderful book. Jamison has the ability to make love seem so real and reachable; her writing always makes me happy to speak and write the English language. It contains great beauty.”
—Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides and South of Broad
“This is a finely told midlife love story, a romance as elegant as it is doomed. . . . What a couple she and her husband made! . . . Jamison writes simply and believably.”
“A soul-baring love letter.”
“Sober yet heartening. . . . Jamison is at her most insightful drawing distinctions between [mental illness] and mourning.”
“A unique account, filled with exquisitely wrought nuances of emotion, of her husband’s death. . . . In her brilliant explication distinguishing between madness and grief, her battle to remain sane is as stirring as his to beat cancer.”
—Booklist (starred review)