Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

Joiner (psychology, Florida State Univ.) attempts to demythologize many commonplace, stereotypical thoughts about suicide, e.g., that those who take their lives are cowardly, angry, and selfish and act whimsically or choose suicide because of side effects their psychotropic medications cause. In this very readable book, Joiner's wide ranging knowledge of the subject leads to deeply penetrating thoughts on the psychology of suicide. He attacks myths from multiple perspectives, drawing on materials from biblical times to the present, scientific research studies and clinical case studies, animal studies, literature, popular culture, and film. The book also advances Joiner's own theory of suicide: people who kill themselves feel that they are a burden to their socially significant others and feel alienated from society. Whether readers are beginning students or advanced researchers, they will find an abundance of stimulating thought and data here, though the author's breezy, almost conversational style might leave some of the research-minded yearning for a more systematic marshaling of the data behind many of the positions advanced. Nevertheless, this is a very worthwhile volume. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries. W. Feigelman Nassau Community College

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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Every one of the million or so people who commit suicide yearly leaves behind not just life but a tangled skein of unanswered questions and myths, to say nothing of loved ones who suffer collateral damage. With the assertion that people who commit suicide hold two psychological mindsets the perceptions that one is a burden and that one does not belong psychology professor and suicidologist Joiner tackles many commonly held beliefs and debunks them. For the most part, he builds his arguments on solid ground. For instance, he addresses the popular yet apparently groundless notion that women who have breast-augmentation surgery are at greater risk for suicide. When he is armed with solid logic, facts, and creditable statistics, his arguments are potent. When it comes to interpreting motivations, however, even a professional like Joiner has to qualify many assertions with such phrases as I believe and in my view. Give him points for attempting to clear up this mystifying behavior.--Chavez, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist