By Anne Rasmussen
Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis
“Patients are tired of seeking help from human beings who pretend to be robots.”
In An Unprintable Book, Anne Rasmussen, who was trained as an anthropologist, relates her experiences as a patient in Norway’s hospitals. Rasmussen entered a psychiatric hospital in the 1980s, followed by being hospitalized for cancer in 1990, and was twice hospitalized for endometriosis in 1991, and 1992.
Rather than being a memoir of her experiences, Rasmussen states that she is “describing events, rarely experience. My experience was far more bloody; a book built on experience would have been unreadable.”
Essentially, An Unprintable Book is Rasmussen’s complaint, her protest, her criticism about the health care she endured while hospitalized. For example, Rasmussen’s stint in a mental hospital occurred because she became angry with her grant advisor, who arrived almost an hour late for their appointment, and had not bothered to read her draft for her proposed project. Rasmussen’s friends insisted she see her psychiatrist, who prescribed medicine that made her suicidal. Nevertheless, the psychiatrist wanted her to keep taking the medicine. Rasmussen rejected the idea. As a result, Rasmussen was sent to a psychiatric hospital.