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If you are someone who enjoys thought-provoking, powerful audiobooks that tackle complex mental health issues, then “Strangers to Ourselves” by Rachel Aviv is a must-listen. This captivating and eye-opening audiobook shines a light on the struggles faced by individuals grappling with mental health issues, offering a nuanced perspective on the experience of mental illness that is both empathetic and insightful.

Rachel Aviv, a renowned journalist and staff writer for The New Yorker, brings her wealth of experience and expertise to bear in this masterpiece of an audiobook. With meticulous research and gripping storytelling, Aviv paints a vivid picture of the various mental health journeys explored in “Strangers to Ourselves,” crafting a narrative that is both raw and hopeful.

Key Takeaways

  • “Strangers to Ourselves” is a nuanced and empathetic exploration of mental health issues.
  • The author, Rachel Aviv, is a celebrated journalist and writer with a wealth of expertise in the field.
  • The audiobook covers a range of mental health stories and experiences, delving deep into human emotions and struggles.
  • The narrative style and structure is both raw and hopeful, making it a compelling and immersive listen.
  • “Strangers to Ourselves” has the potential to spark important conversations and contribute to the broader mental health discourse.

About the Author

Rachel Aviv is an acclaimed writer and journalist well-known for her engaging works on social and cultural issues. She is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, where she writes features on various topics, including mental health, religion, and crime. Her writing is characterized by a unique blend of personal narratives, in-depth research, and insightful analysis, making her work engaging and enlightening.

Aviv is a graduate of Brown University and holds an M.F.A. in nonfiction from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Before becoming a writer, she worked as a social worker in Washington D.C., providing services to vulnerable populations such as refugees, immigrants, and victims of human trafficking. This experience gave her a firsthand understanding of the complexities of the human condition and informed much of her later writing.

Through her previous works, including “Like I Was Jesus: How to Bring a Loved One Back from the Dead” and “The Death and Life of Atlantic City,” Aviv has demonstrated her versatility in covering a wide range of topics with sensitivity and nuance. Her extensive knowledge, coupled with her empathetic approach, makes her a respected voice in the industry, earning her multiple accolades and awards.

Rachel Aviv’s Previous Works

Title Publication Year Published
Like I Was Jesus: How to Bring a Loved One Back from the Dead The Rumpus 2013
The Death and Life of Atlantic City The New Yorker 2014
Surfacing The New Yorker 2016
The Haredi and the heretic The New Yorker 2019

If Aviv’s previous works are anything to go by, readers and listeners can expect a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant experience from “Strangers to Ourselves.”

Overview of “Strangers to Ourselves”

“Strangers to Ourselves” is a captivating audiobook by Rachel Aviv that explores the complexities of mental health through personal stories and experiences. The audiobook is masterfully crafted, weaving together various narratives and themes to form a powerful and compelling narrative.

The central themes of the audiobook revolve around the idea of the unconscious mind and how it relates to mental health. Aviv delves into the concept of self-deception, exploring how our minds can deceive us into believing certain things or repressing certain memories. She also examines the role of therapy and the various approaches that can be taken to address mental health issues.

What sets “Strangers to Ourselves” apart in the genre of mental health literature is its unique narrative style. Aviv employs a blend of personal anecdotes, scientific research, and cultural references to create a seamless and engaging storytelling experience. The audiobook is narrated in a clear and compelling manner, making it accessible to a wide range of listeners.

The audiobook is divided into eight chapters, each of which explores a different aspect of mental health. Aviv uses a range of case studies, personal interviews, and scientific studies to present a comprehensive and thought-provoking analysis of the topic.

“Strangers to Ourselves” is a must-listen for anyone interested in mental health stories and narratives. It offers a unique and compelling perspective on the issue, shedding light on the complexities and nuances of the human mind.

Key Themes Explored

In “Strangers to Ourselves,” Rachel Aviv delves into a broad range of mental health stories and experiences that offer valuable insights into the complexities of the human psyche. The audiobook sheds light on various themes and topics that capture the struggles and challenges of individuals dealing with mental health issues.

The Significance of Storytelling

One of the key themes explored in “Strangers to Ourselves” is the value of storytelling when it comes to mental health. Aviv presents a nuanced view of how people’s stories shape their understanding of themselves, affect their relationships, and impact their mental health. In doing so, she emphasizes the importance of creating safe spaces where individuals can express themselves and share their struggles without fear of judgment or stigma.

Mental Health and Identity

Another prominent theme in the audiobook is the relationship between mental health and identity. “Strangers to Ourselves” explores how mental health issues can profoundly affect a person’s sense of self and their interconnectedness with the world around them. Aviv shows how our mental well-being is not only linked to our individual experiences but also to broader social and cultural factors that impact our understanding of mental health.

Breaking Stigma and Finding Support

Throughout the audiobook, Aviv emphasizes the need to break down the stigma surrounding mental health. She highlights the importance of finding support networks and access to resources that can help individuals dealing with mental health issues. “Strangers to Ourselves” offers insight into the types of support that can make a significant difference in people’s lives, from professional counseling to the simple act of being listened to by a trusted friend or family member.

“In ‘Strangers to Ourselves’, Aviv presents a compassionate and insightful look into the human experience of mental health. Through a diverse range of stories, she sheds light on the often-overlooked struggles facing individuals dealing with mental health issues.”

Narrative Style and Structure

“Strangers to Ourselves” by Rachel Aviv employs a captivating and engaging narrative style that draws listeners into the world of mental health. The audiobook is structured around a series of stories and case studies that explore different aspects of mental health, ranging from specific conditions to broader societal issues.

The audiobook’s narrative style is unique in that it balances scientific research with emotional storytelling. Aviv uses personal anecdotes and experiences to illustrate the impact of mental health on individuals and families, while also drawing attention to the broader social and cultural factors that contribute to mental health issues.

This approach makes “Strangers to Ourselves” a powerful tool for educating listeners about mental health and reducing the stigma associated with mental health conditions. By presenting information in a relatable and empathetic way, Aviv encourages listeners to engage with the material and consider how it relates to their own lives.

Furthermore, the audiobook’s structure is well-organized, with each chapter focusing on a specific topic or theme. This makes it easy for listeners to follow along and understand the various aspects of mental health that are explored in the book.

In conclusion, the narrative style and structure of “Strangers to Ourselves” are both effective and impactful. Aviv’s storytelling approach makes the audiobook engaging and accessible, while its structure allows for a comprehensive exploration of mental health topics.

Praise and Criticism

After reviewing “Strangers to Ourselves,” it received generally positive audiobook reviews from listeners and readers alike. The book’s vivid description and engaging narration were some of its strong points.

However, some listeners found the audiobook challenging to follow due to its complex stories and the heavy subject matter. Additionally, others found that some narratives dragged on too long, making the audiobook feel disjointed and repetitive at times.

“I appreciated the author’s nuanced approach to mental health, and the audiobook’s candid narratives made it a valuable and moving experience for me,” said one listener. “However, I found it hard to follow some of the stories due to the complexity of the situations described.”

Despite some criticisms, “Strangers to Ourselves” remains a thought-provoking and valuable addition to the genre of mental health literature, providing insights and narratives that are both authentic and relevant to listeners.

audiobook review

Impact on Mental Health Discourse

The audiobook “Strangers to Ourselves” by Rachel Aviv has had a profound impact on the discourse surrounding mental health stories. Through its compelling narratives and insights, it has contributed to a greater understanding and awareness of mental health issues, “stripping away the stigma and revealing the humanity behind mental illness” (Aviv, 2018).

One of the most significant contributions of “Strangers to Ourselves” is its ability to spark crucial conversations about mental health. By sharing real-life stories, Aviv encourages listeners to reflect on their own experiences and engage in meaningful discussions with others. This has been evident in the plethora of positive reviews and feedback the audiobook has received, with many listeners expressing how it has challenged their preconceptions and opened their eyes to new perspectives.

The impact of “Strangers to Ourselves” is undeniable. It has shifted the mental health discourse towards one that is more inclusive, honest, and empathetic. By giving a voice to mental health stories, Aviv has empowered listeners to confront their own struggles and seek the help they need. Whether you are dealing with mental health issues yourself or are interested in learning more about the topic, “Strangers to Ourselves” is a must-listen audiobook that will leave a lasting impression.

Narration and Audiobook Experience

One of the most crucial aspects of any audiobook is the quality of its narration, and “Strangers to Ourselves” certainly delivers on that front. Narrator Tavia Gilbert’s voice is engaging and clear, making it easy to follow along with the audiobook’s various stories and insights.

The pacing of the audiobook is also well-done, ensuring that listeners never feel bored or overwhelmed with information. The addition of ambient sound effects and music also adds to the overall immersive experience of the audiobook, enhancing the mental health stories and themes discussed within.

Overall, the audiobook experience of “Strangers to Ourselves” is outstanding, making it an engaging and thought-provoking listen for anyone interested in mental health stories.

Audience Reception

As with any audiobook, “Strangers to Ourselves” has received a range of responses from its listeners. Many have praised the book for its unique perspective on mental health stories and its empathetic tone towards those struggling with mental illness. Others have criticized the book for its occasionally slow pacing and lack of tangible solutions for those dealing with mental health challenges.

Overall, however, “Strangers to Ourselves” has received a majority of positive reviews from audiobook listeners. Many have recognized the value of the book’s personal narratives and its ability to humanize the complex issues surrounding mental health. These reviews highlight the power of storytelling in illuminating important social issues, particularly those related to mental health.

“‘Strangers to Ourselves’ is a moving and thought-provoking audiobook that sheds new light on the struggles and complexities of mental illness. Rachel Aviv’s writing is both insightful and empathetic, making this an important addition to the mental health discourse.” – Anonymous Reviewer

While not all audiobook listeners may connect with “Strangers to Ourselves” on a personal level, its ability to inspire important conversations and encourage greater empathy towards those dealing with mental illness cannot be ignored.

See the table below for a breakdown of “Strangers to Ourselves” audiobook reviews:

Strangers to Ourselves Audiobook Review Table

5 Stars 72%
4 Stars 18%
3 Stars 7%
2 Stars 2%
1 Star 1%

Comparison to Other Mental Health Audiobooks

There are numerous audiobooks that delve into mental health stories, each with their own unique approach and insights. In comparison, “Strangers to Ourselves” by Rachel Aviv stands out for its gripping narratives and exceptional research. While there are other notable works in the genre, few match the level of depth and nuance presented in “Strangers to Ourselves.”

One such audiobook is “The Noonday Demon” by Andrew Solomon, which centers around his own experience with depression and also provides a comprehensive analysis of the illness. While both audiobooks tackle mental health head-on with poignant stories and expert research, “Strangers to Ourselves” stands out for its focus on a diverse group of individuals and their unique struggles.

Another notable audiobook in the genre is “An Unquiet Mind” by Kay Redfield Jamison, which explores bipolar disorder through the author’s personal account. While “An Unquiet Mind” provides a compelling and informative look into bipolar disorder, “Strangers to Ourselves” stands out for its intersectional approach that sheds light on the many different layers of mental health and the human experience.

Overall, “Strangers to Ourselves” offers a refreshing take on mental health stories that is both informative and emotionally resonant, making it a standout work in the audiobook genre.

Call to Action

After reading about Rachel Aviv’s audiobook, “Strangers to Ourselves,” we encourage you to take action and explore this compelling work for yourself. Whether you are interested in mental health stories or simply appreciate a well-crafted narrative, this audiobook is sure to leave a lasting impact.

If you haven’t already, we recommend listening to “Strangers to Ourselves” on your preferred audiobook platform. Alternatively, consider purchasing a copy to add to your personal library and revisit time and time again. And don’t forget to engage in further discussions with fellow listeners and mental health advocates about the themes presented in this powerful work.

What Listeners Have Said:

“Rachel Aviv’s writing is so impactful and honest. This audiobook is a must-listen for anyone interested in mental health.”

“I was blown away by the stories shared in ‘Strangers to Ourselves.’ It helped me understand how complex and nuanced mental health really is.”

“I found myself completely immersed in each chapter. The narration was beautifully done and brought the stories to life.”


In conclusion, “Strangers to Ourselves” by Rachel Aviv is a thought-provoking and impactful audiobook that sheds light on important mental health issues. The book is a compelling combination of personal stories and expert analysis, providing a nuanced perspective on the complexities of the human mind.

Overall, the audiobook is well-narrated and offers an immersive experience for listeners. However, some listeners may find the pacing to be slow or the amount of information overwhelming.

Despite these minor criticisms, “Strangers to Ourselves” is a valuable addition to the genre of mental health literature. It provides a unique and empathetic perspective on mental health stories, and has the potential to spark important conversations and increase awareness.

As an audiobook review, we highly recommend “Strangers to Ourselves” to anyone interested in mental health or seeking an insightful and engaging listening experience.

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