Lauren Slater, a brilliant writer who is a young therapist, takes us on a mesmerizing personal and professional journey in this remarkable memoir about her work with mental and emotional illness. The territory of the mind and of madness can seem a foreign, even frightening place-until you read Welcome to My Country.
Writing in a powerful and original voice, Lauren Slater closes the distance between "us" and "them," transporting us into the country of Lenny, Moxi, Oscar, and Marie. She lets us watch as she interacts with and strives to understand patients suffering from mental and emotional distress-the schizophrenic, the depressed, the suicidal. As the young psychologist responds to, reflects on, and re-creates her interactions with the inner realities of the dispossessed, she moves us to a deeper understanding of the complexities of the human mind and spirit. And then, in a stunning final chapter, the psychologist confronts herself, when she is asked to treat a young woman, bulimic and suicidal, who is on the same ward where Slater herself was once such a patient.
Like An Unquiet Mind, Listening to Prozac and Girl, Interrupted, Welcome to My Country is a beautifully written, captivating, and revealing book, an unusual personal and professional memoir that brings us closer to understanding ourselves, one another, and the human condition.
In this fittingly subtitled work, Slater introduces the schizophrenic, depressed, and suicidal patients she treats. Painting tender portraits of these troubled souls, she recounts her efforts to close the gap between therapist and patient and persuades the listener to make similar connections. Slater's personal struggle with mental illness is touchingly revealed when she journeys to the treatment facility wherein she lived for long periods in order to treat a patient with problems reminiscent of her own. The author's flat narration underplays her elegant prose, which is more effective in the uncut print version (LJ 12/95) than in this abridged recording. All in all, large collections should consider.-Linda Bredengerd, Univ. of Pittsburgh Lib., Bradford, Pa.