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In the Jaws of the Black Dogs: A Memoir of Depression. Paperback – 1996

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Penguin (1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140246509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140246506
  • ASIN: B000LNN7O2
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was a surprise gift and she was very happy to receive it as she had been looking for the book for several months.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
From a Painfully Depressed Mind Comes a Warm & Honest Book! Oct. 17 2005
By Aimee Thor - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I related to so many areas of John Bentley's life. As I read this book I was touched and inspired, and reminded that I am not alone in my perpetual existential crisis. A more refreshing look at depression has not come along in many years. A truly beautiful book that could save lives!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Letting the Dogs Out Oct. 1 2009
By Rose Keefe - Published on
Format: Hardcover
John Bentley Mays, visual arts critic of the Globe and Mail, suffers from chronic depression. 'In the Jaws of the Black Dogs' is his memoir of a life spent fighting the illness and its attending influences: emotional numbness and self-destructive urges.

Mays was born in the American South and lost both parents at an early age: his alcoholic father died under suspicious circumstances in 1947 and lung cancer killed his mother five years later. He could not weep at her death, an early sign of the disorder that he refers to as the coming of the black dogs. In 1968 he attempted suicide, leading to hospitalization and therapy. A good marriage, successful writing career, and firm religious faith anchored Mays somewhat and gave him much-needed doses of normalcy, but the black dogs continue to circle him, ready to rush in and bite without warning.

This is not a self-help book for coping with depression. The introverted approach and elliptical writing style make it a healing tool for the writer, not the reader. It's also not especially uplifting: there's no happy ending and Mays even admits in the forward that he is writing the book "in a clearing bounded by thickets roamed by the killing dogs, sometimes wondering, in the writing, whether I would complete it before they returned on silent paws to snatch the text and me away." But 'In the Jaws of the Black Dogs' is a brave and honest story of courage in the face of crippling mental illness.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Too well written? Dec 5 2004
By KevinP - Published on
Format: Hardcover
It's obvious from reading the first few pages that Mays is an extraordinary writing talent. This is not just another story from someone who suffers depression. It is so eloquently written that I had problems understanding what some of the words meant. His story is told in such vivid detail, with amazing use of the English language. A wonderful book, and very helpful to readers struggling with their own black dogs.
A must read book Oct. 10 2009
By RJ - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have dealt with major depression all my life. This is the first book I have read that really got in to what it is like to live with this disease. Written by a person who lives with depression, not some researcher, or doctor. The book is also very well written. I leaned more from reading this book about my own depression than in years of therapy. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone in the mental health field, and especially anyone dealing with depression.
In The Jaws of the Black Dogs Aug. 6 2009
By Trina S. Cox - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book was very easy to follow and to understand. I am a fellow sufferer of depression and found the author's revelations very similar to my own feelings. I could easily identify with the anguish he felt and the devastation caused by the lack of understanding of this illness. It is nice to know that someone else in the world has experienced what I have been through. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recomment it to others who suffer similar afflictions.

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