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Book Cover for: Unraveling: An Autoethnography of Suicide and Renewal, M. F. Alvarez

Unraveling: An Autoethnography of Suicide and Renewal

M. F. Alvarez

Unraveling: An Autoethnography of Suicide and Renewal, is an autoethnographic story that explores the intricate relationship among trauma, marginality, and mental health.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Publish Date: Oct 9th, 2023
  • Pages: 198
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.00in - 6.00in - 0.56in - 1.01lb
  • EAN: 9781032346465
  • Categories: Research & MethodologyResearch

About the Author

M. F. Alvarez is Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of New Hampshire, USA, where he teaches mental health communication, end of life communication, human communication and technology, and film studies. He is the recipient of an Outstanding Creative Project/Performance Award from the National Communication Association, Asian/Pacific American Studies Division and Caucus.

Praise for this book

"After reading M. F. Alvarez's Unraveling, one may conclude that society would be much better off if 'the asylum' was run by the alleged inmates--or at least empathetic people who have been there, done that, and come back from the edge. While critiquing a system that both disregards and holds victims accountable at every turn, Alvarez's autoethnographic text is an artistically rendered, reflexive, prismatic bricolage which documents his so-called 'descent into madness.' The first part is a vivid, gripping, and relatable, standalone book about Alvarez's experiences with childhood trauma, a suicide attempt, institutionalization, and his bids for engagement and connection with himself and the world. The remainder of the text is made up of systematic, analytic reflections on Alvarez's artistic choices writing autoethnographically, a damning critique of the chemical dispensing abattoir which is our mental health system, and a call for an ethic of care when writing about self and others. In the final analysis, readers may not be able to 'unsee' the perspective that suicidal ideation can be thought of as a valuable signal function being snuffed out by the mental health industrial complex and as a very rational response to an irrational world." -- Carol Rambo, Professor of Sociology, University of Memphis, USA

"This is novelistic evocative autoethnography at its best. It's a gripping, majestic literary and human science achievement, in which - with great skill and aplomb - M. F. Alvarez displays the nuances of narrative theory used in its crafting. More than that, Unraveling constitutes a major autoethnographic challenge to reductionist biopsychiatric accounts of human misery, suicide, and recovery-renewal. Alvarez has achieved what he set out to do: gifted a book to the world that will help stop the bleeding and set our insides on fire." -- Alec Grant, Visiting Professor, University of Bolton, UK

"People coping with mental illness often grapple with misconceptions that their suffering is unique and proves an interior, or inherent, flaw in their character or biochemistry. M. F. Alvarez's Unraveling is a must-read account of a man's slow-moving realization that mental illness has started to significantly interfere with his day-to-day life. Alvarez's compelling and gorgeously accessible prose pulls readers into compulsive thinking. He brilliantly captures how mental illness causes a person's mind to stumble over morbid, irrational thoughts. Unraveling is a necessary counter-narrative that challenges the psychiatric-industrial complex's presumed rationality. He explores mental illness's embodied idiosyncrasies, as well as often-untreated interpersonal dynamics that result in 'troubled' minds and suicidal ideation. Alvarez's autoethnographic account demonstrates that a phenomenological, qualitative approach performs a vital intervention in the study of psychology and behavior." -- Ragan Fox, Professor of Rhetoric and Performance Studies, California State University, Long Beach, USA

"Haunting and masterful. Unraveling: An Autoethnography of Suicide and Renewal immerses the reader in a mind haunted by anticipatory anxiety gone haywire. Strong, moving work, and convincing storytelling throughout. I loved this book." -- John McManus, Professor of English, Old Dominion University, USA

"Alvarez takes us into a world of experiences we may prefer not to enter. But enter we must--to do otherwise risks perpetuating the ever-increasing personal, relational and cultural costs of mental ill-health. His courageous, luminous, scalpel sharp writing shows us and tells us about distress, trauma, madness, self-harm and suicidality. It offers compelling insights and precious glimmers of hope for those of us who research, practice or dwell within these most difficult of human terrains." -- David Carless, PhD, Reader in Physical Activity and Health, University of the West of Scotland, UK

"Unraveling is a profoundly moving study of the phenomenology of madness and a scathing critique of reductionistic models of so-called mental illness. Elegantly written, meticulously structured, and nuanced in its exploration of trauma's reverberations. A devastating but ultimately uplifting read." -- George E. Atwood, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Rutgers University, USA