Friday, August 6, 2010

Within Our Reach

Rosalynn Carter’s latest book, Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis is an easy one to get through. It’s not long, the print is big, the spacing is wide, and it is incredibly clear. However, it also reads like a high school term paper (albeit a very well written one).

Within our Reach is separated into eight chapters, each dealing with a specific topic within the mental health field, such as the stigma associated with mental illnesses and children with mental disorders. Each chapter is further divided into multiple subsections, and it is this fragmentation, combined with the “list-several-statistics-and-then-an-example” formula, that made me think of term papers.

Carter (along with her co-authors Susan K. Golant and Kathryn E. Cade) succeeds in relating the problems associated with America’s perception and handling of those with mental illnesses. However, it does not give a good indication of what the reader can do to help solve the problem. I can see how Within Our Reach could help to change the opinion of someone prejudiced against those with mental illnesses, but it seems unlikely that those people would pick up this book.

I give Within Our Reach a 3/5. Though I would’ve liked more from the book as far as solutions go, it does an adequate job of educating its readers.

Watch Jon Stewart’s interview with Rosalynn Carter

Buy the Book.

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and I’m sorry about that. I’ve been in a bit of a rut as far as the Daily Shill goes. It’s been difficult for me to focus my reading solely on the books I need to review for this blog.

I have a wonderful job working at the circulation desk at the Chelsea District Library, where I see hundreds (maybe thousands? I have a terrible concept of numbers) of books each day as they are checked out and returned. When I check in books, I am tempted to take many of them home and read them myself. Though I’ve done a decent job of resisting, it’s not a 100% success rate. And so my reviews have been coming in a little slower, but I promise to get back on track this month.

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