A Brief History of Anxiety: Yours and Mine

Patricia Pearson, Author . Bloomsbury $21.95 (198p) ISBN 978-1-59691-298-4

Novelist and nonfiction writer Pearson (When She Was Bad ) was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder at 23 in 1987; she had suffered a nervous breakdown after discovering that her lover was sleeping with another woman. In a rambling fashion, she traces the roots of her anxiety to a youth spent in tumultuous New Delhi, where her diplomat father was posted when an Indian-Pakistani war broke out over Bangladesh. Genetically, she traces her anxiety to a grandmother whose famous biting wit was likely, she surmises, a manifestation of anxiety and depression. Pearson quotes a range of sources, including the 2002 World Mental Health Survey and angst-ridden Kierkegaard, Keats and Whitman. Pearson's anxieties constantly shift according to the stresses in her life, and an adverse reaction to antidepressants once caused her to make sexual advances to her daughter's friend's mother. Citizens of affluent U.S. and Canada are more prone to dread and panic than Mexicans, says Pearson, who herself grew up in a privileged Canadian family with a grandfather who was prime minister and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Although often self-indulgent and overwritten, Pearson's quirky memoir should strike a chord with some of the 40 million American adults suffering from clinical anxiety. (Mar. 4)

Reviewed on: 12/03/2007
Release date: 03/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 198 pages - 978-1-59691-595-4
Paperback - 198 pages - 978-0-679-31499-8
Open Ebook - 208 pages - 978-1-59691-949-5
Hardcover - 198 pages - 978-0-679-31498-1
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