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The acclaimed author of "When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends" knows mental illness firsthand. Her painful, personal experience has served as the genesis for this book, a groundbreaking exploration of the effects which mental illness wreaks on the family.
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When Madness Comes Home is a beautifully written, meticulously researched, well-organized book that is inflected by the author's special empathy as the sister of someone with schizophrenia. Its subtitle, Help and Hope for the Children, Siblings, and Partners of the Mentally Ill, is an accurate description of what a reader will find in its pages. She introduces herself with a painful passage about committing her sister for treatment, and then begins at the beginning: "Telling someone that there's mental illness in your family, and watching the reaction, is not for the fainthearted."
Secunda has interviewed scores of sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, and spouses of people afflicted with schizophrenia, manic-depressive disorder, debilitating depression, and other serious afflictions. She allows them to speak for themselves, while gently guiding the reader toward insights, coping strategies, knowledge, and compassion.
Tactfully avoiding criticism of parents or medical professionals, Secunda nonetheless makes it clear that her concerns lie elsewhere. Her only misstep is billing hers as the first "major" book to address "these other victims," when Julie Tallard Johnson, founder of the Sibling and Adult Children's Network of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, wrote the groundbreaking book, Hidden Victims: An Eight-Stage Healing Process for Families and Friends of the Mentally Ill, more than 10 years before. Secunda's own extensive bibliography and her many useful quotes amply recognize those who have examined this territory before her. Her book is wonderful, but we can be thankful that it is only one of a growing number written for those whose lives are often shattered but whose pain is still largely ignored. --Margaret MoormanFrom Library Journal:
This book deals primarily with those whom the author calls the "other victims"?the siblings and offspring of the mentally ill person (the chapter on the special problems of spouses seems to be an afterthought). While most other titles on dealing with a mentally ill relative do mention in passing the problems of other family members, journalist Secunda's (Women and Their Fathers, Dell, 1993) focus sets it apart. However, like the many other "adult children of dysfunctional families" books, it is completely unscientific. Everything from "codependence" to "inability to commit" is described as a result of growing up with an unstable relative?all based on nonrandom, anecdotal evidence. Nevertheless, there is an audience for this kind of book, so large and medium-sized public libraries may want to purchase.?Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, Wash.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Hyperion, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX078688326X
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