Depression
Resources

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
A Mood ApartA Sadly Troubled HistoryActive Treatment of DepressionAdolescent DepressionAdult Bipolar DisordersAgainst DepressionAgents in My BrainAmerican ManiaAmerican MelancholyAn Unquiet MindArtificial HappinessBeating the BluesBefore ProzacBeyond BlueBiological UnhappinessBipolar DisorderBipolar Disorder DemystifiedBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar ExpeditionsBlaming the BrainBoy InterruptedBritain on the CouchCalm EnergyCase Studies in DepressionChange Your ThinkingChronic DepressionComprehending SuicideConquering Postpartum DepressionConquering the Beast WithinCry Depression, Celebrate RecoveryDamageDepressionDepression 101Depression and GlobalizationDepression and NarrativeDepression Doesn't Always Have to Be DepressingDepression FalloutDepression in ContextDepression Is a ChoiceDepression SourcebookDepression, Emotion and the SelfDepression, the Mood DiseaseDepression-Free for LifeDetourDiagnostic Issues in Depression and Generalized Anxiety DisorderDown Came the RainDowning Street BluesDysthymia and the Spectrum of Chronic DepressionsEight Stories UpElectroboyElectroshockEssential Psychopharmacology of Depression and Bipolar DisorderExperiences of DepressionFacing BipolarFast GirlFatal AttachmentsGetting Your Life BackGod HeadHandbook of DepressionHandbook of DepressionHello to All ThatHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHow Everyone Became DepressedHow I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying to Kill MeHurry Down SunshineI am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!Journeys with the Black DogLeaving YouLet Them Eat ProzacLife InterruptedLifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Lifting DepressionLifting the WeightLincoln's MelancholyLiving Without Depression and Manic DepressionLong ShotLucy Sullivan Is Getting MarriedMadnessMaking Sense of SuicideMalignant SadnessManiaManicManic DepressionManufacturing DepressionMelancholiaMindfulness for Urban Depression: Tools for Relief from Stressful City LivingMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMood GenesMoody Minds DistemperedMy DepressionNatural Healing for DepressionNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Hope For People With Bipolar DisorderNew Hope for People with DepressionNight Falls FastNovember of the SoulOn DepressionOn the Edge of DarknessOne in ThirteenOrdinarily WellOut of the BlueOutsmarting DepressionOvercoming DepressionPerfect ChaosPotatoes Not ProzacProzac and the New AntidepressantsProzac BacklashProzac HighwayProzac NationProzac NationPsychotic DepressionPuppy Chow Is Better Than ProzacQuiet Your Mind & Get to SleepRaising a Moody ChildReasons to Stay AliveScattershotSelf-CoachingSightlinesSilencing the Self Across CulturesSilent GriefSongs from the Black ChairSongs Without WordsSpeaking of SadnessSpontaneous HappinessStudent DepressionSubordination and DefeatSuicidal Behavior in Children and AdolescentsSuicideSunbathing in the RainSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving Manic DepressionSwing LowSylvia Plath ReadsTalking Back to ProzacTaming Your Inner BratThe Aesthetics of DisengagementThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Mood DisordersThe Anatomy of MelancholyThe Anti-Depressant Fact BookThe Antidepressant EraThe Antidepressant SolutionThe Antidepressant Survival ProgramThe BeastThe Bell JarThe Best AwfulThe Bipolar ChildThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Blue Day BookThe Breakthrough Depression SolutionThe Clinical Science of Suicide PreventionThe CorrectionsThe Cruelty of DepressionThe Depressed ChildThe Depression CureThe Depression WorkbookThe Devil WithinThe Emotional RevolutionThe Family SilverThe Feeling Good HandbookThe Forgotten MournersThe Loss of SadnessThe Memory of LightThe Mindful Way through DepressionThe Mood CureThe Myth of Depression as DiseaseThe Naked Bird WatcherThe Nature of MelancholyThe Noonday DemonThe Pits and the PendulumThe Postpartum EffectThe Secret Strength of DepressionThe Van Gogh BluesThe Van Gogh BluesThe Weariness of the SelfThe Years of Silence are PastThirteen Reasons WhyThis Close to HappyTo Walk on EggshellsTreatment for Chronic DepressionUndercurrentsUnderstanding DepressionUnderstanding DepressionUndoing DepressionUnhappy TeenagersUnholy GhostUnstuckViniyoga Therapy for DepressionWhat Goes UpWhat the Birds SeeWhat Works for Bipolar KidsWhen a Parent is DepressedWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Someone You Love Is DepressedWhen Words Are Not EnoughWhen Your Body Gets the BluesWhere the Roots Reach for WaterWhy Are You So Sad?Why People Die by SuicideWill's ChoiceWriting Through the DarknessYou Are Not AloneZelda

Related Topics
Prozac HighwayReview - Prozac Highway
by Persinmmon Blackbridge
Press Gang Publishers, 1997
Review by JMM
Aug 5th 1999 (Volume 3, Issue 31)

After Listening and Talking Back to Prozac, Prozac Nation, Prozac Diary, and of course Beyond Prozac, the world seems to need another Prozac book like a serotonergic hole in the head. But trust me, Prozac Highway is unlike any other Prozac book you will read. Were this novel to fit more neatly into the fold, it might have been told from the perspective of a doctor, amazed by the wondrous effects of the new drug. Or by a different doctor, convinced that Prozac was a multinational conspiracy . Or by a patient, indebted if not entirely cured. But Persimmon Blackbridge’s cynical, real-time, cybersexed novel does not merely diverge from these narrative forms; she turns them on their head. The result is an intermittently hilarious, troubling, and thought provoking work that promises to make a reader re-think that serotonin rush experienced when reading other works of the Prozac genre.

The novel is narrated by Jam, who (like Blackbridge) is a fortysomething lesbian performance artist/cleaning woman. Jam spends much of her life "too depressed to do much ..."—and one could well argue that the book moves at roughly the same pace. Jam is too down to shower or change, or even to dream up lesbian sex stories for her performance act with Roz. Luckily though, Jam is more than able to sit in front of her computer engaging in cyber-group-therapy with a worldwide web of "mental patients" connected via the listserv "ThisIsCrazy." Lucy is a "sixty-eight year-old het who lives by herself on disability in rural Virginia." (characters are identified by their web-names, as if postmodern CB truckdrivers.) Parnell, who could have been a doctor, lives "on the dirty side of Newark, keeping himself out of the psych ward by working as a patient’s rights advocate." And Fruitbat spends her days in the Baltimore public library, trying to appear un-crazy as she detoxes from neuroleptics.

The amazing thing about this novel is that not much really happens, unless your idea of action is watching messages pop up on your email. The discussions, and indeed the characters, are only known to Jam—and by extension, to the reader—through the simulacra-speak of the internet. Interactions, conversations, and even seductions are flattened out thanks to the mediation of the computer. And "meatworld" (as opposed to "networld") interactions are flattened out even more, thanks to affect, indifference, or the impossibility of human connection. Through the course of the narrative, Jam progressively withdraws from what we might consider "social interaction," if by social interaction we mean intersubjective, physical engagement with another living being. Jam spends more and more of her time in her apartment, avoids her friends and former lovers (although she has plenty of time for her hallucinations), and hardly has the energy to feed herself. She appears, in other words, to be following the DSM IV criteria for a psychotic variety of depression as if reading a cookbook (although, as she explains, "I don’t do cookbooks.") And yet, the amazing feat of this novel is that within this nothing, something comes to life. Thanks to Jam’s unique perspectives, and a gifted act of storytelling, a reader can’t help but become imprecated in (or interpolated in?) the seemingly disembodied strains of narrative. Will Jam finish her story? Will she ever connect with Fruitbat, her psychotic seductress? Will Junior regain his freedom? And who, thinking of the superego, is Mie Lin, anyway?

The success of this book is in its act of community formation, within a landscape that works to inhibit real connection. Doctors tragically (and indeed hilariously, when one thinks of Kramer’s book) misunderstand patients. The mental health system seems to abuse those within its care (the book offers a strong attack upon the notion of involuntary outpatient commitment.) Lovers use and discard each other. Depression and despair lurk around every corner. And yet against these obstacles, the character of Jam, and her cadre of cyber-R.D. Langians bind together to form genuine networks of support. In the process, Prozac Highway offers more than an often humorous, frequently hyper-sexual account of despair. It provides an empathic account of, and sharp critique of, the discourses all too often effaced in the therapeutic discourse that listens and talks back to Prozac without stopping to consider the voices that have been left out of the discussion.


Share

Welcome to MHN's unique book review site Metapsychology. We feature over 7800 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than thirty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Can't remember our URL? Access our reviews directly via 'metapsychology.net'


Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from Amazon.com for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your Amazon.com purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!


Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? Currently, we especially need thoughtful reviewers for books in fiction, self-help and popular psychology. To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716