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Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by…

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide (1999)

by Kay Redfield Jamison

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Extremely impressive ALL INCLUSIVE research. Well written, with some interesting anecdotes (esp. Lewis of "Lewis & Clark"). An intense read -- emotionally & psychologically painful to read, insofar as anyone reading this would have been touched by mental illness. If I weren't so bummed out after reading this, it would have deserved a higher rating. ( )
  C-WHY | Aug 13, 2012 |
I picked this book up at the library yesterday. My therapist told me it's the best book she's ever read on the subject of suicide. I had checked this out from the library, but more promising books came my way, and I decided to return it. I did read a little and it was very interesting. It's definitely a book I will return to, and would like to own.description from wikipedia.org: "Her seminal works amongst laypeople are her memoir An Unquiet Mind, which details the agony of severe mania and depression, and Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide, providing historical, religious, and cultural responses to suicide, as well as the relationship between mental illness and suicide. In Night Falls Fast, Jamison dedicates a chapter to American public policy and public opinion as it relates to suicide. A catalyst for the book, besides her own suicide attempt, was the suicide of a close friend, a brilliant man with bipolar illness. The two had made a pact to spend a contemplative week together in a cottage if either of them felt suicidal, but the pact did not hold true in the end as her friend committed suicide."
  jessicaland | Apr 21, 2011 |
This is one of the most illuminating and interesting books on suicide that I’ve read in a very long time. It goes about as far as any book can in helping to explain this deeply tragic event, and to provide hope and alternatives for those contemplating taking their own lives. ( )
  meggyweg | Mar 6, 2009 |
No insight here. An essay stretched to book length leaving the reader dumbfounded as to why she pursued to the end. Not near Jamison's best and completely worthless for any sufferer over 40 seeking clarity. ( )
  AnitaDTaylor | Oct 27, 2007 |
I first came upon this book when I was about fourteen and suffering through what would be the first of many major depressions. I remember standing at a Barnes and Noble table, idly touching the smooth dust jacket and wondering if this book would have answers as to the way I felt. Nearly six years and two suicide attempts of my own later, I’ve finally read the book.

I’ve been a big fan of Jamison’s ever since I first read An Unquiet Mind, her memoir of manic-depression. She is an eloquent writer and speaks about her subject with authority. She captures the feelings and lives of those who were lost to suicide in a way most reports on suicide never even graze. As far as a reading experience, this book is smooth, information packed sailing.

My complaint, however, is that it seems that Jamison poses more questions about suicide than answers. Despite the subtitle, despite being someone who has stood on that brink between life and death more than once, I don’t feel I understand suicide any better at all. Maybe that’s the nature of the beast, but I was hoping for a little bit more.

Regardless, the book is still expertly executed and well worth the time of anyone who had ever been touched by a suicide or simply wondered about the suicidal mind.

I give it four stars. ( )
1 vote twomoredays | Oct 27, 2007 |
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Night falls fast.
Today is in the past.

Blown from the dark hill hither to my door
Three flakes, then four
Arrive, then many more.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay
For my husband, Richard Jed Wyatt With deep love and For my brother, Dean T. Jamison Who kept the night at bay
First words
Summer evenings at the Bistro Gardens in Beverly Hills tended toward the long and languorous.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375701478, Paperback)

"Suicide is a particularly awful way to die: the mental suffering leading up to it is usually prolonged, intense, and unpalliated," writes Kay Redfield Jamison. "There is no morphine equivalent to ease the acute pain, and death not uncommonly is violent and grisly." Jamison has studied manic-depressive illness and suicide both professionally--and personally. She first planned her own suicide at 17; she attempted to carry it out at 28. Now professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, she explores the complex psychology of suicide, especially in people younger than 40: why it occurs, why it is one of our most significant health problems, and how it can be prevented. Jamison discusses manic-depression, suicide in different cultures and eras, suicide notes (they "promise more than they deliver"), methods, preventive treatments, and the devastating effects on loved ones. She explores what type of person commits suicide, and why, and when. She illustrates her points with detailed anecdotes about people who have attempted or committed suicide, some famous, some ordinary, many of them young. Not easy reading, either in subject or style, but you'll understand suicide better and be jolted by the intensity of depression that drives young people to it. --Joan Price

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:23 -0400)

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A study of the growing epidemic of suicide among young people draws on the author's firsthand battle with severe manic-depression and attempted suicide to reveal the psychological, medical, and biological aspects of self-inflicted death.

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