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Books by Mindy Lewis

LIFE INSIDE: A Memoir by Mindy Lewis

(Atria Books 2002, Washington Square Press 2003)

In 1967, three months before her sixteenth birthday, Mindy Lewis was sent to a state psychiatric hospital by court order. She had been skipping school, smoking pot, and listening to too much Dylan. Advised by doctors, her mother placed Mindy in state custody until she turned eighteen. Life Inside is the story of the author's coming-of-age during those tumultuous years. In honest, unflinching prose, she paints a richly textured portrait of her stay on a psychiatric ward -- the close bonds and rivalries among adolescent patients, the politics and routines of institutional life, the extensive use of medication, and the prevalence of life-altering misdiagnoses. But this memoir also takes readers on a journey of recovery as Lewis describes her emergence into adulthood and her struggle to transcend the stigma of institutionalization. Bracingly told, and often terrifying in its truths, Life Inside is a life-affirming memoir that informs as it inspires.

"Complex, chilling, luminous: not one false step." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“…a moving, poignant and enraging, yet redemptive, account of one woman’s refusal to accept victimization, powerfully told in vivid, poetic prose.” - Publishers Weekly

“Mindy Lewis writes of her life with clarity, intelligence, and vivid, sometimes harrowing, detail. After reading Life Inside, I had to wonder about our world, to question our notions on normalcy and appropriateness, and to applaud Lewis for daring to tell her story.” —Ann Hood, author of Do Not Go Gentle

"Powerful, honest, poignant—Mindy Lewis's story compels us to travel with her down the path of a soul-wrenching journey. Glimpses of our own interior lives are unavoidable as she shatters the boundaries between the worlds that she inhabits and the one that lives within her." —Barbara Gordon, author of I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can

“Lewis’s emotionally complex, powerfully written memoir is fierce, honest, intimate, courageous, and—ultimately—healing to read, in its portrayal of one woman’s struggle to emerge whole from ‘life inside.’” —Janice Eidus, author of The Celibacy Club

"From twenty-seven months on the adolescent unit of a respected psychiatric hospital, Mindy Lewis emerges with the courage born of despair to confront the medical experts who, by pathologizing her youthful rebelliousness, relieved her—and themselves—of the responsibility of understanding it. In challenging us to think rather than be thought for, this brave book is a must-read for psychiatrists and laypeople alike." —Carol Hebald, author of The Heart Too Long Suppressed

"This is the remarkable adventure of a young woman, misdiagnosed and confined for more than two years at one of the premier psychiatric teaching hospitals in the nation, at a time and place of great professional self-confidence. While her apprentice doctors learned psychotherapy with her, she learned mostly from her friends and teachers. When she finally got out, she gradually turned her own experience of living into recovery. A great read, and a story of healing oneself from which we in the psychotherapy professions have much to learn."
—Christian Beels, M.D., former director, Public Psychiatry Fellowship, New York State Psychiatric Institute

DIRT: The Quirks, Habits, and Passions of Keeping House

Seal Press, Spring 2009
Mindy Lewis, Editor

This thought-provoking collection of personal essays offers a multidimensional look at the universal challenge of keeping our stuff, our dwellings, and our personal space clean and uncluttered. How we feel about keeping house speaks volumes about our roots, relationships, and our outlook on life.
Contributors: Sally Koslow, Joyce Maynard, Lisa Selin Davis, Rebecca Walker, Brian Gerber, Mindy Greenstein, Patty Dann, Kathleen Crisci, Ann Hood, Kyoko Mori, Karen Salyer McElmurray, Markie Robson-Scott, Lisa Solod Warren, Alissa Quart, Sonya Huber, Thaddeus Rutkowski, Teena Apeles, Nancy Stiefel, Mindy Lewis, Rand Richards Cooper, Louise DeSalvo, Mimi Schwartz, Katy Brennan, Mira Bartók, Branka Ruzak, Janice Eidus, Kayla Cagan, Jessica Shines, Julianne Malveaux, Michael Hill, Louise Rafkin, Nancy Peacock, Richard Goodman, Laura Shaine Cunningham, Juliet Eastland, Pamela Paul, Krista Lyons, Rebecca McClanahan; Foreword by NY Times columnist Penelope Green

"Who would guess that revelations about cleaning house would be so intimate and revealing? More constant than love, sex or money, DIRT makes for a compelling and compulsively readable topic."
- Kathy Matthews, author of sixteen books including The Trouble with Perfect and SuperFoods Rx

"In this interesting collection of personal essays, writers both male and female share their relationship with space, around and inside of them. Written in a variety of tones—humorous, poignant, edgy, revelatory—the authors keep us entertained and engaged from the first essay on."
- Nahid Rachlin, author of Persian Girls and Jumping Over Fire

"Drop the broom. Stash the dust rag. Leave the mess on your desk. Read Dirt instead of cleaning house – you'll enjoy the company of wonderful writers who share your own habits, passions and quirks."
- Ellen Sussman, Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex and Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave

"As a former compulsive handwasher, I enjoyed the plethora of intelligent and amusing insights which this gorgeous compilation afforded me."
- Lady Macbeth aka Simon Doonan author of Eccentric Glamour

"Inspired in part by “the prime cleaner,” her mother, essayist Lewis brings…together…an impressive range of opinions and related issues regarding keeping house in the 21st century.…Significant attention was paid to finding not just a talented collection of writers…but a diverse set of perspectives."
- Publishers Weekly 3/9/09