Weekends at Bellevue [NOOK Book]



Julie Holland thought she knew what crazy was. Then she came to Bellevue. For nine eventful years, Dr. Holland was the weekend physician in charge of the psychiatric emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. In this absorbing memoir, Holland recounts stories from her vast case files that are alternately terrifying, tragically comic, and profoundly moving: the serial killer, the naked man barking like a dog in ...
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Weekends at Bellevue

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Julie Holland thought she knew what crazy was. Then she came to Bellevue. For nine eventful years, Dr. Holland was the weekend physician in charge of the psychiatric emergency room at New York City’s Bellevue Hospital. In this absorbing memoir, Holland recounts stories from her vast case files that are alternately terrifying, tragically comic, and profoundly moving: the serial killer, the naked man barking like a dog in Times Square, the schizophrenic begging for an injection of club soda to quiet the voices in his head, the subway conductor who watched a young woman pushed into the path of his train. 

Writing with uncommon candor, Holland supplies not only a page-turner with all the fast-paced immediacy of a TV medical drama but also a fascinating glimpse into the inner lives of doctors who struggle to maintain perspective in a world where sanity is in the eye of the beholder.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
One wonders how Julie Holland did it. For nine years, she worked the infamous weekend night shift at New York's Bellevue Hospital, not only the oldest public health institution in the country but also its famously busy psychiatric facility. Every night, dozens of patients were brought in: "slashers," "jumpers," "overdosers," suicidal bag ladies, people running naked on the street. The staff must quickly evaluate them, cope with their problems as best they can, and send them back into the margins of society. Dr. Holland's Weekends at Bellevue re-creates a place where even TV writers would not dare to go.
Publishers Weekly
In this disjointed memoir, Holland describes her nine-year odyssey as a doctor on the night shift at New York City's Bellevue hospital, a name that has become synonymous with insanity. Holland met a bewildering assortment of drunks, sociopaths, schizophrenics and homeless people malingering in hope of a warm place to crash. As the physician in charge of the psychiatric emergency room, the hard-boiled Holland acted as gatekeeper, deciding who would be sent upstairs to the psych ward, to Central Booking or back to the streets. The book also covers Holland's personal life from her student days as a wannabe rock star to her psychotherapy sessions, her sexual escapades and her marriage and birth of her children. Holland captures the rhythms and routines of the E.R. with its unbearable suffering, petty jealousies and gallows humor. She is less successful at maintaining any kind of narrative continuity. Chapters generally run only a couple of pages and often depict random anecdotes that most likely sound better than they read. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Psychiatrist Holland recounts nine years working the weekend shift in the emergency room of one of the nation's iconic psychiatric hospitals. When she started her job at the Bellevue psych ER, 30-year-old Holland (editor: Ecstasy: The Complete Guide, 2001) was single, intelligent and tough. Prisoners in chains, battered women, the homeless, desperate and delusional-all became an exercise in how quickly a patient could be treated and released. Readers meet an endless procession of these broken souls, some more sympathetic than others, and get a sense of the difficulty of the author's job. Holland describes how the staff competed to identify which patients were feigning symptoms to score a warm bed and hot meal, until the author, shaken after a scary incident, realized that "even the lying patients are still coming to the hospital because they are in need. Don't send them away empty-handed." Unfortunately, few of the patients' stories are particularly memorable, and Holland misses countless opportunities to make them so. Because she is so focused on her journey from tough girl to "working mother of two with a heart of mush," the take-home message from each of these vignettes, when there is one, almost always relates only to the narrator-who, despite this, does not come across as a particularly self-aware storyteller. There are some moving moments of genuine insight, but they are dulled by so much extraneous detail that everything starts to feel arbitrary. A more focused narrative, with half as many patients whose stories carried twice as much weight, would have made for a much stronger book. Despite a promising premise and a few fascinating stories, the book is ill-focused and overlong.Agent: Kirsten Manges/Kirsten Manges Literary
From the Publisher
“A gem of a memoir . . . Holland takes us for a ride through the psych ER that is at once wild and poignant, a ride that leaves deep tracks in even the healthiest of minds.”—Katrina Firlik, M.D., author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe

“An extraordinary insider’s look at the typical days and nights of that most extraordinary place, written with a rare combination of toughness, tenderness, and outrageous humor.”—Andrew Weil, M.D.

“Unforgettable . . . tells a mean story.”—New York Daily News
“The tension between [Holland’s] macho swagger and her shame at the harsh way she occasionally treats patients gives this memoir extra intrigue.”—Psychology Today
“A fascinating portrait . . . Holland is a good storyteller with a dark wit.”—New York Post
“Equal parts affecting, jaw-dropping, and engrossing.”—Booklist

“In Weekends at Bellevue [Julie Holland] tells the story of her own journey through medical school, residency, and beyond, and at the same time gives us startling insights into minds so damaged, human beings rendered so helpless by their own demons, that entities resembling souls can’t help but shine through. It’s a thrilling and meaningful trip. As I turned the pages I found myself thinking, over and over, Oh, poor novelist that you are, you really can’t make this stuff up.” —Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours and Specimen Days

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553906974
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 71,042
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Julie Holland, M.D., is a psychiatrist specializing in psychopharmacology. An assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine, she spent her weekends running the psychiatric emergency room at Bellevue Hospital for nine years. She is the editor of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide–A Comprehensive Look at the Risks and Benefits of MDMA. She lectures widely and has been quoted in Time, Harper’s, Slate, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Holland has appeared as a medical expert regarding mental illness and drug use on numerous television shows, including Today and Good Morning America. She runs a private practice in New York City and lives with her husband and two children in the Hudson Valley.

From the Hardcover edition.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Mother Nature’s Son  

On a warm day in early spring, two New York City cops and two EMS workers roll a gurney down the hallway, escorting a man to the entrance of Bellevue’s psychiatric emergency room, where I work. Lying on the stretcher underneath a white sheet, with a head of dirty blond hair beaded and dreadlocked, he is naked, sunburned, and screaming. I walk out to greet my new patient as the drivers hand me his paperwork to sign.
“What’d you bring me?” I ask eagerly. I can see he’s a live one. I love the live ones.  

Over the shrieking, one of the EMS guys gives me “the bullet,” the few pieces of relevant information when introducing a patient to a doctor: age, chief complaint, pertinent history. “This is Joshua Silver. Twenty-three. No significant medical history, no allergies, no meds. Also, he denies a psych history,” he says archly, shooting me a look.  

“And how’d he get to you guys? Who called 911?”  

“NYPD called in an EDP.” This is cop-talk for a psychiatric patient: emotionally disturbed person. “He’d taken off his clothes in Times Square and was parading around, barking like a dog. And growling,” he adds.  

This gets the patient’s attention, and he interrupts the driver to clarify, “It was my way of showing them that I was not an animal. I am not a dog!”

  Barking and growling to prove he is not a dog? His logic is lost on me, but at least he’s stopped yelling and started communicating.

  “You can talk to me,” I say, turning my full attention toward him.  

“See, there were some guys from Nation of Islam preaching on the corner, and they told a woman who was arguing with them that she was just a dog—God spelled backwards—to which I took offense.” He then explains to me, as he did to them, that all people are art. “ ‘Thou art art,’ I told them. ‘Once you accept that all people, all objects, are art, you will live in heaven as I do.’ ”  

“You know what, Joshua?” I ask, having decided it is time to move out of the triage area and into the locked area. “I think you and I should go talk about this inside.” I want us to sit in an interview room so I can try to get some more history, and I don’t feel like standing over him while he lies on a stretcher. I can already tell he’s an admission and will need to be in the detainable area for patients awaiting beds upstairs.

I let EMS and NYPD know that they are free to leave, and I grab my new patient some hospital pajamas. I help him off the stretcher, wrapping his sheet around him, and walk him into the larger, locked part of the ER. As I escort him through the entrance, the door clicks definitively behind us, and I hope he doesn’t notice that he is now locked in. Because he is naked, we can dispense with the contraband search, which is good. The search is often the point where people become uncooperative and agitated, ending up restrained and medicated.  

Prior to entering the detainable area, a patient must remove his belt, shoelaces, rosary beads—anything that can be used to hang himself or choke a fellow patient. Inevitably, the patient will insist that he is not suicidal or dangerous, but it doesn’t matter; these items are not allowed in the detainable area. Neither are cell phones, crack pipes, backpacks, knives, pens, wallets, and the list goes on. The patient has to give up just about everything along with his freedom.  

Luckily, Joshua is oblivious. I show him to the bathroom where he puts on the pajamas quickly. I alternate between keeping an eye on him and setting up the interview room. There are several windowed rooms within the detainable area, each with a desk and two chairs. I put my chair closer to the door. As we settle into our talk, the first thing I notice is that although he is disheveled, he seems well-educated with an impressive vocabulary. He tells me he has written a twenty-eight-page manuscript, which he calls a prose-poem, based on his newly embraced credo that everything is art. He is hoping to reach millions of people by delivering his manifesto on the Howard Stern show on K-ROCK, a radio station in the city.  

“I am a holy man,” he tells me, explaining how his writing has elevated him to this level. “I feel like King Arthur in a tower of Babel.” He is hyper-verbal, spewing non sequiturs. I try to keep up with him, playing follow the leader, as if we are hopping from rock to rock in a rushing stream, but he is pulling far ahead of me. Eventually, I have to tell him he’s not making a lot of sense.  

“Joshua, you need to slow down. I want to understand what you’re saying, but it’s difficult for me. I’m focusing on the illogical connections that you’re making…”  

It sounds like “theological connections” to him, and his smile beams; he’s pleased that I’ve grasped his religious message. I don’t bother to correct him.  

Being preoccupied with religion is a classic manic symptom, and mania is the better-known half of manic depression, now called bipolar disorder. In a manic state, people have less desire for sleep; they will talk more, create more, do more. Commonly, bipolar patients get hyper-religious in their newfound frenzy and sometimes end up on a street corner and then a psych ER explaining that they are Jesus or the Messiah, or that they’ve discovered a new religion. They’ve been touched by the Lord who spoke to them. They’ve had a vision, an epiphany, and they want to share it with the world. Their grandiosity can be charismatic and alluring. Religions and cults are formed around this kind of energy, and I’m happy to warm myself by Joshua’s fire during the interview.  

In March and April, our ER becomes crowded with manic patients. For many bipolars, there is a seasonality to their symptoms. Just as more people get depressed in the winter months, increased exposure to bright sunlight can elevate moods. Also, the air is heady with religious themes during spring, when Easter and Passover coincide. The resurrection is reenacted in the budding trees and sprouting flowers, miraculously coming to life where once lay a blanket of snow. We get multiple Jesuses in the ER this time of year.  

Joshua’s pressured speech is another sign of his mania. It rambles hither and yon, like a butterfly dancing merrily among the flowers, setting down briefly on the themes of religion and art as if they were particularly colorful blossoms. I try to join him in his wordplay, to engage him gently in the hopes of learning more about him: where he’s from, where his parents are, and whether he’s stopped his medication, which is a good bet. Most of the manic patients who come through our doors have gone off their meds. The mood stabilizers have significant side effects, and people are often resentful about having to use them. Also, mania usually feels better than being medicated, at least for a while. It’s a bit like surfing, knowing it has to end with the inevitable wipeout, but loving the balancing act required to keep it going.

  Most of our patients battle with their need for medications. When they start to feel better, they abandon their treatment plan, thinking they’re cured. Even if they know they’ll get sick again, they hate taking the pills so much that they stop anyway. Coming through our doors is a painful and humbling lesson in how to manage their illness.  

“Joshua,” I begin yet again.  

“I fought the battle of Jericho.”  

“I’ve heard that about you, yes.” I smile. “Are you from Jericho?” I ask earnestly.

  “No, I don’t think so.”  

“Or maybe a town near there? You took a bus to New York City from where?” I ask. “Can you tell me where your parents live? Is there anyone who might be worried about you, who doesn’t know where you are?”  

A town near Jericho? What the hell am I thinking? I’ll tell you: I am trying to meet him where he is, to work within his delusions and focus on what’s important to him, and then gently lead him out to where I am, in reality. This is one definition of psychotic—broken with reality. He lives in a dream, but his hallucinations and delusions are as real to him as the movies we star in while we sleep.  

Despite my coaxing, I can’t get anything useful out of him. I want to find his parents because I need to talk to someone who knows him to learn whether he’s been sick like this before. And I want to let them know that he’s been found. I’ve made dozens of phone calls to parents of the bipolar kids who end up on our doorstep. We get plenty of “first breaks” at Bellevue, the first episodes of psychosis that often herald the arrival of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. They tend to occur in the late teens or early twenties. This is when the brain is pruning back and reorganizing connections made throughout adolescence, and also when everything is getting more challenging: starting college, joining the army, traveling. Sometimes, during these phone calls, I hear about how bright and promising their children were before they got sick. Other times, when it’s not the first break, but the latest in a long series of them, the parent on the phone is terse and angry, burned-out, tired of being woken up in the middle of the night to answer the same questions from yet another psychiatrist. In many ways, that’s easier for me to deal with than the heartbreak of talking to the “new” parents, giving the first diagnosis, gingerly explaining the illness and its treatment, knowing as I do that they may be in for decades of calls from ER docs.  

But tonight there is no phone conversation with the Silvers. Joshua won’t even acknowledge that they exist, and I have nothing to go on but his manic ramblings. He tells me he’s come to New York City with three dollars in his pocket and nowhere to stay. Knowing no one in the city, he made his way from the Port Authority bus terminal to the K-ROCK radio station at five a.m. in order to spread his message. When I first started my job at Bellevue, I heard the Port Authority referred to as The Port of Atrocities, because EMS brought us such sick people from there. That name stuck with me throughout my tenure at the hospital.  

Joshua continues, chronicling the events of his day. After K-ROCK turned him away, he spent the rest of the morning sleeping in Central Park. Later in the afternoon, the police in the park told him to move on, and gave him a tip: Try hanging out around Forty-Second and Broadway. Wandering around Times Square, he happened upon some teens entertaining the tourists by playing drums on overturned white plastic buckets. He danced for them, and the tourists threw him money and took his picture.  

“You know how there’s cops there on horses? They let me pet the horses; they seemed cool about me touching the animals, and the tourists took my picture again!” He seems impressed that he’d become a tourist attraction himself.  

“Well, weren’t you naked by then?” I remind him.  

He admits that he must have been by this point, but then begins to digress into a tirade against photographers, who, instead of living life and immersing themselves in their surroundings, only interact superficially by documenting the scene.  

“You may have a point there,” I offer. I think of my boyfriend the photographer whom I confronted with exactly this accusation not so long ago.  

My patient perceives me as a friend and ally because I am aligning with him, chatting agreeably rather than asking the standard annoying psychiatrist questions. There’s no need for those as far as I’m concerned—he’s a definite admission. The only is whether I can get him to sign in voluntarily or will have to fill out the 9.39 paperwork for commitment.  

The criterion for a 9.39 is danger to self or others, or an inability to care for self. If a patient doesn’t fit this narrow definition, he needs to sign in voluntarily. A frustrating situation often develops in a family when a patient clearly needs psychiatric help but is unwilling to agree to a hospitalization. In Joshua’s case, I can probably justify the danger-to-self scenario. He can’t fend for himself while he’s psychotic like this: He’s on the street with three dollars in his pocket—that is, when he’s got his pants on—eating and drinking nearly nothing.  

Could severe dehydration and low blood sugar be affecting his behavior? Is he high from LSD or PCP? My money is on mania, the “working diagnosis,” but it’s my job to second-guess myself. If it’s drug-induced, he’ll come down in a day or so, but the mania won’t de-escalate that rapidly. I can ask the nurses to obtain a urine sample to be tested for PCP—phencyclidine—a tranquilizer called Sernyl, once FDA-approved but now illegal. When people are high on PCP, they frequently disrobe and run amok. There is a saying among toxicologists that “naked running is PCP until proven otherwise.” Since Joshua presented to the ER naked and disorganized, I figure I should at least send for the test.  

If I could just talk to his parents, I’d get a sense of his history—whether he’s been depressed or manic before, and what meds work best for him. Of course, he won’t offer me any telephone numbers for his family, only for K-ROCK, a number he knows by heart. He still wants Howard Stern to broadcast his manifesto.  

I push forward on my chosen tack: schmooze-fest. I tell him I admire his theory that people are art. I share his appreciation for the perfection of all he surveys, of the complexities and magic in the world around us. Like being high on hallucinogens, mania can provide a sense of wonder and awe at the realization of how the universe works. It’s easier to access the macro, to pull back and see the big picture. Often there is a feeling that “everything is connected,” a realization in common with experiences on psychedelics and with mystical religious epiphanies. There are likely neurochemical similarities between the mystical, psychedelic, and manic states.  

At Bellevue, I am repeatedly shown the big picture, taught that there is more than one way to look at just about everything. When I open my ears and mind to the “ravings of a madman,” I’m reminded to pay more attention, to Be Here Now. Everywhere we choose to see it, the world is full of splendor and wonderment. I’ll never forget the manic teenage boy who tapped my shoulder in the detainable area, excited to explain to me that, “We’re part of this huge experiment. All of us are under one microscope, being observed and studied. You know where the eyepiece of the microscope is?” he asked me, his pupils dilated with enlightenment. He pointed to the ceiling, “It’s what you call the sun.”  

From the Hardcover edition.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 86 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 82 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 5, 2009

    An honest, inside look at the workings and culture of a big city hospital's psychiatric emergency department

    It's all there ... the grit and the humor, the chaos and the compassion. This is a compelling read.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2009

    Suburban doc is boring

    The author takes an incredibly rich subject matter and uses it as the background to remind us how smart she is about psychiatric meds, what the diner is serving, how she furnishes her on-call room, and how annoying the patients are. There is not a glimmer of interest in her patients or her inability to treat them. Read it for shock value only.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Waste of paper

    The "Unquiet Mind" book by Kay Redfield Jamison is a WAY better about bipolar than this dribble that passes as a book. Poorly written, as waste of good paper. Get Unquiet Mind instead. The reader gets the distinct impression this writer only wants to be PROVOCATIVE, when in reality the book is dull as dishwater.

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2009

    an ego fest

    I thought this would be (at least mostly) about the different cases she saw at Bellevue, but the more I read, the more I didn't like the author. She claims that she's wanted to be a psychiatrist since childhood, yet it seems to take her several years after graduating med school, plus her own therapy, to even start to understand what her profession is about. I was appalled at the casualness of her treatment of patients, who seem to be sacrificed to the altar of her desire to be a tough-gal cowgirl. I could have lived without her description of the birth of her first child, and the name-dropping. There's also way too much apologizing for her attitudes and actions, as if this book is an explanation for self-centered behavior. She seems to want admiration for sticking it out for nine years-of two-day weekends, not five-day weeks, while the nurses and aides have stuck it out longer and are probably still there. If nothing else, this book made me glad I don't live in New York City.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    Disappointing and sometimes boring

    I am fascinated by the psychology/psychiatry field and thought this book would be interesting. It's not. The book is not organized well and the narrative moves around a lot--is she talking about the past? The present? Is this even the same patient? The author comes across as kind of a jerk and very self-absorbed--all patient stories are presented as how they relate to her. She thinks she is very smart and tough and macho but she comes across as annoying, whiny, and bratty. The chapters that dealt with her sessions with her psychologist/therapist were tedious and annoying--did I really need to know the whole conversation word for word? And I feel as if she was going for some kind of award for being the most sex-crazed doctor/resident. There were lots of TMI moments. I thought she was her most callous and oblivious regarding her recollections of 9/11. Because she was not in the city at the time, she wasnt touched by the terrorist attacks at all--she went about swimming and sunning herself without a care in the world. She excused this by saying she didn't know it was that bad until she got back to the city. Huh? I live in Pennsylvania and watched the news coverage on tv and was devastated. Also, I hope never to have her as a therapist because she makes her money by pushing drugs on people. She doesn't care what their underlying problems/neuroses/mental illnesses are, she just dopes them up so they feel good for now. What kind of doctor are you??? Overall, if you are looking for a book that sheds light on mental illness and how people deal with them, DO NOT read this book. The patients are a merely a blip on her radar.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fabulously brave, incredibly heartfelt - and an E-Ticket ride to boot!

    It is NOT your average doctor who pulls aside the Wizard of Oz curtains and reveals herself as a fallible human being, wrestling with her own issues all the while taking the reader on an E-Ticket (the BEST rides at Disneyland) ride through her 9 years as ER doc on the weekends at Bellevue. Fabulously brave and incredibly heartfelt, it is a testament to what it actually takes this person to navigate, personally and professionally, caring for those who, for whatever reason, are severely mentally ill in so many different manifestations, and attempting to solve each puzzle as it lands in the ER. It also highlighted the thin line between sanity and insanity that so many successfully walk with the assistance of therapy and medication - really bringing mental health to a level that it should be - acknowledged as just another part of life and not something to hide or be ashamed of. I actually listened to the audio version and enjoyed hearing Dr. Holland read it herself - adding a "scratch n' sniff" dimension that really works for this very real, often funny, often questioning, sometimes sad & frustrating book. A relaxing read it's not - more like a wild ride - so strap on your seat belt!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    True to life

    There is a lot of truth in the other reviews here. But whether we like it or not this book is also true to life. Holland showed her cards in this book. It all rang true for me. Every bit of it. The narcissism, weariness, fear, heartache, anger at malingerers and the onslaught of life among the mentally ill. All she left out, really, was the politics of mental health care. I spent years in a similar psychiatric triage setting and love psychiatry even more now than when i started residency 23 yrs ago. All she really failed to show here was enough of the compassion that quite likely drove the writing of this book as much as did her desire to promote herself. And perhaps she doesn't realize either that her experiences are not unique. Worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2011

    Odd intrigue explored in perfect balance.

    I share her draw to fractured minds, and she quickly drew me in. I was along for the ride, only pausing for my own shifts at the hospital. Brava, Dr Holland, Brava!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2011

    Worthwhile unless you're simply hoping to enjoy juicy tales of tragedy and madness

    This doctor is human, in every sense, and this book reminds me of the saying that insanity is a human being's sane response to an insane world. For those people whose minds live in a place that is no longer connected to reality as the majority of us experiences it, it takes someone with spunk and humor to see the value that is covered up when mental illness has taken over and it takes strong will to keep fighting to uncover that value

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I loved this book!!

    Mrs. Holland gives the reader a view of the event that goes on in the mental department of an emergency room! What doctors and nurses see everyday!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2010

    If You Get the Chance to Read This, PASS.

    This book was extremely disappointing and not worth the money or time to read it. The writing was horrible- it gave little insight or understanding into the patients themselves or how the author is impacted by her work. She constantly seeks to remind the reader of how smart, down-to- earth, etc. she is and how her work made her a better person, but the entire thing lacks sincerity. She does little to convey the actual suffering of her patients or life working at Bellevue. Most disappointing for me was the fact that the synopsis gives the impression that case files are described in some depth, but that is, to say the least, misleading. At most, patients are given a few brief sentences. Here's hoping she is a better psychiatrist than author.

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    One of the best books

    This book will make you laugh and it will make you cry. It will hold you on the edge until the very end. A most read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    Great book

    I've always been intrigued by Bellevue. This is a great book, i couldn't put it down. I held off finishing it for a few days because I didn't want it to end. The author mentions an HBO documentary and I looked it up,turns out I had watched it years ago.Bellevue seems like a fascinating yet heartbreaking place to work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2013

    "Poor me" story

    Book is all about how the world did the author wrong. I am over half way through and do not know if I can get past her whining and finish the book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2012

    Reaiistic & Entertaining

    This account is the real deal. I've worked in a downtown E.R., worked with the mentally ill, and I refer many patients to pschiatrists for properly targeted medical interventions. I give this read an easy five stars: Good author self-disclosure, good diagnoses & treatment, and well chosen examples.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Not as Expected

    Like many reviewers I thought this would be about the PATIENTS, but it's mainly a narrative of the author's life. This would better be put under "Biography". Overall: Disappointing.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2011

    What A Disappointment

    I thought this book looked like a good read... an interesting inside look at the patients that come through Bellvue. I was so disappointed! Trust me, it has very little information about actual patients. This book spends more time describing herself than anything to do with the patients. There are snippets here and there about patient life but more than anything it is about Julie Holland's day to day life. I definitely could have skipped her personal therapy stories, sex escapades and birthing stories. Also, this book is very disorganized and hard to get through. I DO NOT RECOMMEND!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Ridiculous price for ebook

    No way would I pay this much for an ebook.. let alone one that obviously, from reading the other reviews, isn't that great a book anyway. I may pay this much for a sequel to Twilight or a Harry Potter book but no way would I pay this much for an ebook regardless of the quality or lack thereof. I will buy a book today but it won't cost this much.. it will be under $10. Sad for this author and this publisher.. they made no money off me today

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Narcissism at Bellevue

    I listened to an interview with the author, Julie Holland, on "Talk of the Nation" last December and thought she sounded interesting so this was one of the very first books I downloaded to my Nook. What stood out in the book was the author's self-absorption. What I hoped to learn about was the inner workings of that very famous mental institution. What I learned about was the author's perception of how everyone else perceives her. Her self disclosures regarding her professional relationships, her sexual activities and her relationships with clients came across as sophomoric attempts to appear sophisticated. It read more as the journal of a immature teenager trying to impress with her willingness to share inappropriate details of her life. I learned not nearly enough about Bellevue and far more than I would ever care to know about Julie Holland.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Doctor or Hero Syndrome?

    Working actively in the medical field with 70% of patient interaction stemming from underlying mental issues, I can closely identify with the author's struggle of maintaining a nurturing soul vs. the rough exterior that is often built. I was also able to relate to the relationships formed between her and coworkers (same garbage, different name above the hospital door). With that being said, it was hard for me to decipher whether or not she genuinely cared about the patients, or was just in it for the "adrenaline rush" that so many of us in the medical field crave for. Quite a bit of the story was dragged out so far that I wanted to skip a few pages ahead to see if she got to the point yet, and a lot of what I percieved as a whiney persona came out. I felt the book eminated more of a "look at me, the hero" syndrome. There was seldom a time I truly felt as though she showed a genuine concern for her patients which is what defines a respectful professional in the medical field. Most can be taught do the job, it's the bedside manners that define the professional.

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