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#RCN100 Celebrating 100 years of the Royal College of Nursing

Beyond the Glass

Antonia White

Judith Devine, Mental Health Lecturer

Reason you chose this book

Clara’s 1920's journey takes us from dysfunctional family and fractured relationships towards the creeping shadow of mental illness. I first read this book when making the career choice of mental health nursing and found this book absorbing and poignant; and still use it in my teaching today and reread regularly.


The power of Beyond the Glass comes from the honest and sometimes harrowing description of what it was like to be mad in at a time when there were no effective treatments for mental illness and the prospect of recovery or discharge was almost non-existent. It is even more remarkable as we have so few accounts of people who survived the asylums at this time before the NHS; White is a skilled author who manages to convey the sense of confusion, isolation and timelessness of her untreated psychosis. Now largely a forgotten author , she deserves a renaissance.

November's page turners

Read all of November's book reviews.