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Within the literature of madness, there has never been a memoir as wrenching and mordantly humorous as Jensen's. Terrifying yet tender, darkly humorous and deeply moving, Nervous System is a tale of literary madness like no other. Within the literature of madness, there has never been a memoir as wrenching and mordantly humorous as Jensen's. Terrifying yet tender, darkly humorous and deeply moving, Nervous System is a tale of literary madness like no other.


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Within the literature of madness, there has never been a memoir as wrenching and mordantly humorous as Jensen's. Terrifying yet tender, darkly humorous and deeply moving, Nervous System is a tale of literary madness like no other. Within the literature of madness, there has never been a memoir as wrenching and mordantly humorous as Jensen's. Terrifying yet tender, darkly humorous and deeply moving, Nervous System is a tale of literary madness like no other.

30 review for Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea Charping

    This book isn't the typical book I'd read, but my husband gave it to me for Christmas because I'm a writer. I enjoyed the book, but it's not something I'd read again. It was a quick read (it took me a few months because I put it down to read other books). Sometimes when I read it before sleeping, I'd have dreams that I was going crazy, and that freaked me out. But, overall, it was an interesting look at mental illness, and it was interesting to read a book from a point-of-view I've never experie This book isn't the typical book I'd read, but my husband gave it to me for Christmas because I'm a writer. I enjoyed the book, but it's not something I'd read again. It was a quick read (it took me a few months because I put it down to read other books). Sometimes when I read it before sleeping, I'd have dreams that I was going crazy, and that freaked me out. But, overall, it was an interesting look at mental illness, and it was interesting to read a book from a point-of-view I've never experienced before.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Georgette

    Librarian Jan Lars Jensen just sold his first novel - a science fiction story set in future India - to a publisher. Excellent news to any writer, but as he revised the story for his editor, he grew increasingly convinced that his novel - which featured the gods of Hindu mythology - will anger the Hindus, lead to the collapse of his life, and the destruction of the world. [return][return]While it's natural for most authors to be apprehensive about an upcoming release of a new novel, Jensen lost h Librarian Jan Lars Jensen just sold his first novel - a science fiction story set in future India - to a publisher. Excellent news to any writer, but as he revised the story for his editor, he grew increasingly convinced that his novel - which featured the gods of Hindu mythology - will anger the Hindus, lead to the collapse of his life, and the destruction of the world. [return][return]While it's natural for most authors to be apprehensive about an upcoming release of a new novel, Jensen lost his grip on reason and reality. He was unable to sleep and is highly paranoid. Convinced that the only way to fix the situation is that he died, a suicide attempt followed and Jensen woke up in a psych ward. The ward did little to curb his paranoid; it merely provided additional nooks and crannies to feed it. [return][return]"Nervous System" is Jensen's account of his swift decline in mental health, and his much slower recovery. While mental illness isn't funny (especially if you have it), Jensen is blunt and candid about the various conditions of his mind throughout the whole incident. His memoirs are readable and conversational, even if the topic is usually avoided in polite company.[return][return]There were many nights when he is convinced that there is a sniper or assassin outside, waiting for a chance to kill him. What's comical about that situation is how resigned Jensen is to his eventual fate, and how concerned he is that none of his fellow patients are at any time, between him and a possible bullet. He charts his relationship with his doctors, fellow patients, and his wife. [return][return]There was no angel choir or great revelation when Jensen won the battle with his mind, just a gradual healing and acceptance of "normal"... with the occasional pep talk to himself that there is no reason to give in to any renewed paranoia.[return][return]Most memoirs are about how a person had an awful life but became famous and awesome in spite of it. We all want to be inspired to be great, especially when our lives are nowhere half as awful as people who merit getting their own biography. Perhaps that's why many of us will not be immortalised in a book; there's nothing unusual or remarkable about finding your own rut and staying there.[return][return]"Nervous System" will probably find an audience with people who are interested in mental illness from an eloquent patient's perspective, or for writers who believe they are this close to going crazy. At least the writers can rest assured in the fact that if they survive a lapse in mental health, they can write an entertaining book about it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This book wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be.; It was cool that he was Canadian though. It was different that what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be more about his mental illness and classic books, but instead it was about the publication of his book, which seemed a little self-centered. This book wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be.; It was cool that he was Canadian though. It was different that what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be more about his mental illness and classic books, but instead it was about the publication of his book, which seemed a little self-centered.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tone

    Both a tale of a nervous breakdown/suicide attempt and publishing, Nervous System pushed a lot of my buttons and I'm very happy to have read it. How effective is Jensen's writing? After the chapter describing his various anxieties I was overcome with my own. I left work early and raced home, convinced that I'd left the front door unlocked and my dogs had busted loose and were running around the neighborhood. Both a tale of a nervous breakdown/suicide attempt and publishing, Nervous System pushed a lot of my buttons and I'm very happy to have read it. How effective is Jensen's writing? After the chapter describing his various anxieties I was overcome with my own. I left work early and raced home, convinced that I'd left the front door unlocked and my dogs had busted loose and were running around the neighborhood.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Annalise Laidlow

    I enjoyed this book, it's very easy to read and easy to relate too. Really honest and open - would recommend it. I enjoyed this book, it's very easy to read and easy to relate too. Really honest and open - would recommend it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Abie

    A really insightful book into a man’s mental breakdown. I love how he describes so well what it was like to be him, in his thoughts, at the time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    All in all not a bad book at all, but the book has (for me) a very though and boring middle part where the author bores the reader with ongoing nagging about his book publication. When that's all set and done Jan Lars Jensen returns to analysing his sickness and his time in the ward and his way to getting sane again and the book turns out to be quite deep. At first I thought of only Jan as a deep character but in the last parts of the book you get a glimpse of Michelle's thoughts and behavior to All in all not a bad book at all, but the book has (for me) a very though and boring middle part where the author bores the reader with ongoing nagging about his book publication. When that's all set and done Jan Lars Jensen returns to analysing his sickness and his time in the ward and his way to getting sane again and the book turns out to be quite deep. At first I thought of only Jan as a deep character but in the last parts of the book you get a glimpse of Michelle's thoughts and behavior too.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Bynum

    Another memoir - by a guy who had a complete break with reality and thought he would bring down the entire world civilization with his novel Shiva3000, and how he struggled to be able to read afterwards. Really, really fascinating.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brandie

    In Nervous System, Jan Lars Jensen recounts about the time he had a nervous breakdown that was set off by the publication of his up-coming book. Beating the odds, Jensen gets a contract on the book he wants to write. After putting all the time and effort in, and as it nears it's publication, suddenly Jensen feels like his book will usher in the end of the world. He wrote a book set in India about Shiva. He suddenly worries that it will be found offensive and somehow start a world war that will on In Nervous System, Jan Lars Jensen recounts about the time he had a nervous breakdown that was set off by the publication of his up-coming book. Beating the odds, Jensen gets a contract on the book he wants to write. After putting all the time and effort in, and as it nears it's publication, suddenly Jensen feels like his book will usher in the end of the world. He wrote a book set in India about Shiva. He suddenly worries that it will be found offensive and somehow start a world war that will only end with countries lobbing nuclear bombs at each other. I can read that and go, um, I don't think one fiction book goes that way, but in throes of his illness he couldn't see that. While this is a serious topic, Jensen takes a humorous approach to the book. Not to negate what has happened to him, but I would assume (because I would do the same thing) to make the topic more approachable and to make writing about it easier. Overall, I enjoyed reading the book. While I've never been suicidal or delusional, I have experience depression that has affected my family and I related to several parts of the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline Madsen

    Humorous and frank view of the author’s experience in a psychiatric ward. I’m in my second year of a graduate program in Art Therapy/ Counseling, so Larsen’s memoir held professional interest for me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Abdul Rasak

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Nervous system

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carola

    It's was a nice read, especially towards the middle of the book. Skip the last 40 pages or so, it's too much yada about his plans of publishing this book and comparisons with other books. Not highly recommended but worth reading when you're interested in the author's 'crazy' breakdown. Haven't read shiva 3000 though so maybe that is an important factor too. It's was a nice read, especially towards the middle of the book. Skip the last 40 pages or so, it's too much yada about his plans of publishing this book and comparisons with other books. Not highly recommended but worth reading when you're interested in the author's 'crazy' breakdown. Haven't read shiva 3000 though so maybe that is an important factor too.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ynna

    Interesting narrative on an author's nervous breakdown spurred by the news of an upcoming publication of his latest novel. I enjoyed Jan Jensen's honest rebelling of his time spent on the hospital and especially his manic thoughts throughout his return home and back into the real world. Overall this book was a little dull and I put it down for a few days and almost forgot about it. Interesting narrative on an author's nervous breakdown spurred by the news of an upcoming publication of his latest novel. I enjoyed Jan Jensen's honest rebelling of his time spent on the hospital and especially his manic thoughts throughout his return home and back into the real world. Overall this book was a little dull and I put it down for a few days and almost forgot about it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marty

    Sort of a strange memoir about a writer going crazy about the book he's written. Everything's all tangled up - he's writing about writing making him go crazy, making him sort of an unreliable narrator. I liked it okay but didn't love it enough to really recommend it. Sort of a strange memoir about a writer going crazy about the book he's written. Everything's all tangled up - he's writing about writing making him go crazy, making him sort of an unreliable narrator. I liked it okay but didn't love it enough to really recommend it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sidra

    well, the book was fresh. I admire the writer and his strength in writing about his lowest point in life. It really does gives us a better understanding to mental illness. I guess all of us will lose our minds at some point in our lives.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Robert Windsor

    I've added my review to Heather's because I disagree with it being 'self-centred.' It was a blessing 8 years ago but at the moment I wish it was in comic form! I've added my review to Heather's because I disagree with it being 'self-centred.' It was a blessing 8 years ago but at the moment I wish it was in comic form!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ketan Shah

    A disarmingly honest and well written account of the writer's descent into insanity,and his subsequent recovery.If you enjoyed this,you might enjoy the work of Chuck Pahlaniuk and Dave Sedaris. A disarmingly honest and well written account of the writer's descent into insanity,and his subsequent recovery.If you enjoyed this,you might enjoy the work of Chuck Pahlaniuk and Dave Sedaris.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ryan McArthur

    Super interseting, a really good insight into the authors mental condition. Funny, interesting and sad in turns.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Leeroy

    Hated this book. Took forever to get the will to finish. I don't know that the book could be considered objectively bad or anything, I just never got engaged. Hated this book. Took forever to get the will to finish. I don't know that the book could be considered objectively bad or anything, I just never got engaged.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Scary-because-it's-true tour of a descent into mental illness with a paranoia tinge. Much more engaging than I had expected, this story stuck with me all day long during the week that I read it. Scary-because-it's-true tour of a descent into mental illness with a paranoia tinge. Much more engaging than I had expected, this story stuck with me all day long during the week that I read it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joann Im

    Humorous and a courageous look on mental illness.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Camilo Sagou

  23. 5 out of 5

    Annika

  24. 5 out of 5

    Samara

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nija Gibson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rania Affes

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sioux L. Lee

  29. 4 out of 5

    Perry Jackson

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

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