Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche by Ethan Watters

Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche by Ethan Watters

I read this book in two large chunks, one half over winter break and then I finished the other half at the beginning of summer. The nice thing about this book is that each chapter has its own topic and conclusion so each one can be read with little context of the other. There are bits and pieces referenced from each section, but ultimately, it does not matter how much time passes in between each reading. This book takes on the hard topic of mental illness. Often people are searching for books on accurate representation, this book brings a new perspective to mental illness. I am not exactly sure how I feel about it, as it never invalidates, but at the same time it seems to blame mental illness on forces other than brain chemicals. This really made me question my stance on mental illness, how do they come to be discovered, where do they come from, where do they go? This book offers a completely new perspective, yet it does not come to any conclusions, it just shows new ideas and leaves them there. Watters sets up his book to make it seem as if the reader and he are going on a personal journey where they explore the different facets of the globalization of mental illness. But it never seems that Watters is on the same page as the reader as it often seems as if he is leading the reader in one direction and then makes a conclusion that is cohesive, just unexpected. This may be a result of there being multiple answers to the questions he proposes, I just found that he never came to the same conclusion that I came to. Watters also liked to structure his sentences to be long and meandering so that the point is lost. He does like to use big and technical words that relate to the field of psychology and mental illness, but I like it when he does that because he does a good job of breaking them down into something someone who is not a doctor would understand. Overall this is a good book that offers an interesting new take on mental illness that is worth the read. When I read half of it in school, I was not sure whether or not I wanted to come back to it, but I decided it was worth reading to the end to see where Watters would go.

 

Comments