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Books, Journals, New Media
June 22/29, 2005

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Memoir

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.

JAMA. 2005;293(24):3107-3112. doi:10.1001/jama.293.24.3111-a

“What people are ashamed of usually makes a good story”—these words of F. Scott Fitzgerald set the stage for this memoir of mental illness. In Songs From the Black Chair Charles Barber juxtaposes the experience of losing his best childhood friend to suicide and his own struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). His is the courageous, intimate story of a journey to recovery. Readers will also find the painful subject of suicide made tolerable by the story’s underlying hopefulness. The narration is imaginative and beautifully written, with vivid imagery and wit.

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