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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Vivian Sternwood on 01-05-14
Not suitable as an audiobook
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
I would recommend the book, but not the audiobook. The book is a compassionate history of Willard psychiatric hospital "inmates" in the early 20th century based on what the researchers found in the suitcases the patients left behind. I knew there were several pictures in the book which couldn't be included in the audiobook but I didn't anticipate how tedious it would be to listen to all the files being read out.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Lives They Left Behind?
It is saddening and infuriating at the same time to listen to all the individuall stories ultimately being reduced to one single narrative: in a mental institution like Willard, the individual stories, skills and personalities of the patients didn't (don't) count. I love how the authors did not only re-iterate the facts they found out about the patients but also put them in a wider context, detailing the history of mental health treatment and its current status.
What aspect of Alex Paul’s performance might you have changed?
The performance was okay, Alex Paul is a good reader and has a pleasant voice. His performance wasn't outstanding in any way but the material didn't lend itself to show off the skill of the narrator.
Was The Lives They Left Behind worth the listening time?
In a way it was, because the book is so moving, but I still wish I had bought the paperback instead of the audiobook.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jennifer on 02-10-14
excellent voice - like the Dragnet detective
Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?
Since I was truly curious about the subject of the history of mental health institutionsI found the listen to be time well spent. The authors were documenting many facts and, for most of the book,leaving the listener to sift through what they heard and draw their own conclusions. The narrator stayed even and true to the text. The detective style of narration interjected an ominous truth to the book. (sometimes the lists of what was found in a suitcase mayhave become tedious to listen to, but the point was well made, and with Mr. Paul's voice would send a shiver).
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
Being non-fiction, this book was not a "story" per se. The facts were eerie. The points made by the writing of this book revealed the intense need for changes in the mental health care systems, and the fact that not enough changes have yet occurred remain.
What about Alex Paul’s performance did you like?
I liked Mr. Paul's narration. Serious, consistent.- not getting in the way of the text revealing what the authors were wanting to reveal.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By B. Shaff on 09-11-17
Not really the book I expected
I am currently doing some work at the site of the former Willard Asylum and during a Google search found this book. I expected a book of stories about the people and their lives here. About half or less of the book seems to be about the people. All the rest seemed like a social justice crusade against the past and current mental health system. The book could be titled "All the things they did wrong and still do" While many of the injustices of the past clearly weave into the personal stories it seemed like whole chapters drifted way of the implied subject of the book.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful