In this admittedly disjointed memoir, Holland reveals just what it takes to run the weekend shift at one of America's most famous mental hospitals for almost a decade. Not one to sugarcoat reality, Holland paints a disturbing picture of our current mental healthcare priorities, and quite frankly of herself. I'll admit there were plenty of aspects of her life and personality which I found off-putting, but the raw honesty she displays is a testament to her commitment. I'm not sure I'd choose Holland as a friend or as a doctor, but suspect it was her ability to compartmentalize that made it possible for her to do her job and do it fairly well for 9 years.
Ultimately, I would have preferred a slightly more cohesive narrative structure; the book reads like a series of unrelated vignettes until close to the end. That said, this is certainly a book worth reading if you are in the mental health field. Though I could wish for a more sympathetic narrator, I suspect that Holland's rather grim portrayal of herself reflects the real truth about those battling on the front lines of the mental heathcare system- too little time, too few beds, and too little follow-up must wear down even the most optimistic of practitioners.
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About the reviewer
C Quinn (quinncx)
I love books and review for pleasure, and I love to browse reviews online looking for more books to add to my TBR list.
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