10 Must-Read Books

Set In Mental Asylums And Hospitals

Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland (1865)  

Explores altered states and mental health conditions like depression and psychosis through the fantastical journey of a little girl.

Nellie Brown, Ten Days In A Mad-house (1887)

Provides a firsthand journalistic account of a mental asylum in the late 19th century, raising awareness about the need for reform.

Leonora Carrington, Down Below (1944)

Recounts autobiographical experiences in a Spanish mental institution during World War II, offering a surreal examination of mental health care. 

Ken Kesey, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1962)

Critiques the dehumanizing effects of institutionalization, challenging the notion of what constitutes sanity and insanity.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1963)

Portrays a promising young woman's descent into mental illness and her bittersweet experiences in a 20th century psychiatric hospital. 

Joanne Greenberg, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden (1964)

Explores a young woman's inner world and her struggle to distinguish reality from fantasy in the confines of a psychiatric institution.

Susanna Kaysen, Girl, Interrupted (1993)

Is a memoir that reflects on Kaysen's time in a psychiatric hospital during the late 1960s, exploring the complexities of adolescent mental illness. 

Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace (1996) 

Delves into the life of Grace Marks, a convicted 19th-century murderess, and examines the blurred lines between sanity and madness in legal proceedings.

Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides To Die (1998)

Explores the mind of a young working woman who voluntarily commits herself to a mental institution, delving into themes of mental health, life's purpose, and societal pressures.

Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind Of A Funny Story (2006)

Follows a teenager's journey as a psychiatric hospital patient, offering a humorous portrayal of his struggles with depression and anxiety.

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