The Center Cannot Hold

The Center Cannot Hold

By Elyn R. Saks

  • Release Date: 2007-08-14
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
Score: 5
From 55 Ratings
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Elyn R. Saks is an esteemed professor, lawyer, and psychiatrist and is the Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Law School, yet she has suffered from schizophrenia for most of her life, and still has ongoing major episodes of the illness. THE CENTER CANNOT HOLD is the eloquent, moving story of Elyn's life, from the first time that she heard voices speaking to her as a young teenager, to attempted suicides in college, through learning to live on her own as an adult in an often terrifying world. Saks discusses frankly the paranoia, the inability to tell imaginary fears from real ones, the voices in her head telling her to kill herself (and to harm others); as well the incredibly difficult obstacles she overcame to become a highly respected professional. This beautifully written memoir is destined to become a classic in its genre.

The title is a line from "The Second Coming," a poem by William Butler Yeats, which is alluded to in the book.


  • A truly eye opening experience

    By Littlepiggy3000
    As the sister of someone who has been recently diagnosed with a similar mental illness as Mrs. Saks, I purchased this book with numerous reservations afraid of what I would discover. However, as her story is extremely graphic and blunt, it has helped me better understand what Schizophrenia is and how a person with this illness thinks and learns to function. I am thankful for Mrs. Saks sharing her incredible life story, I highly reccomend this book to anyone looking to read a real, brutal yet inspiring story.