An unusually engaging history of mental illness and the stigma attached to it. Roy Richard Grinker threads together the attitudes of society toward psychiatric illness with the lives and work of his ancestors and his daughter’s experience of autism. The result is an informative and thoughtful book about mental illness: common, painful, usually treatable, and profoundly tied to the human condition.—Kay Redfield Jamison, Pulitzer Prize finalist for Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire
This landmark book could not be more timely, coming at the pivotal moment when our society is reevaluating its most basic assumptions about mental illness and health…[A] must-read for anyone interested in psychology, anthropology, the social model of disability, or the complex nature of being human. Nobody’s Normal is a masterpiece.
—Steve Silberman, author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
In Nobody’s Normal, Roy Richard Grinker explores the way stigma has coalesced around mental illness and assesses the cumulative harm done by depressed or psychotic patients’ sense of humiliation…This engaging book is an able guide to how the problem might begin to be addressed, so that those who are ill bear only the burden of their illness itself.
—Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon
The most important work on stigma in more than half a century. It tells two intertwined stories—a meticulous, comparative history of mental illness from the Enlightenment to the present, highlighting the centrality of military medicine in times of war; and the story of [the author’s] own family…Roy Richard Grinker brilliantly unravels the tension between deviance and vulnerability by shaping the relationship between multiple generations.”—Sander L. Gilman, author of Seeing the Insane
Nobody’s Normal is for everyone. Patients and their families will read the book as if it were written for them because it is so personal and empathic. Mental health professionals will read it as if it were written for them because it is so extensively researched and erudite…Beautifully written, a remarkable history.
—Alix Spiegel, cocreator of NPR’s Invisibilia