Tuesday, November 27, 2012

January First by Michael Schofield

Most parents would do just about anything to keep their children out of harm's way. But, what does a parent do when the harm being done to his child, day in and day out, is internal? Michael Schofield shares his roller coaster struggle in January First.

Michael and his wife Susan have a daughter named January who has an IQ that is so high by the age of four, the doctors who administer the test are unable to calculate an accurate measure of her intelligence. Along with her genius, Janni has a wild imagination, with friends ranging from pet rats, each named after a day of the week, to a cat named 400. When Michael and Susan have a little boy, Bodhi, the real nightmare begins. Janni's once seemingly overactive imagination blossoms into violent outbursts, usually directed at her newborn baby brother.

Over the course of more than a year, Janni visits numerous doctors and is even institutionalized before she is diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her parents are exhausted, devastated, and yet refuse to give up hope.

This a very candid and honest account of Michael's thoughts and feelings throughout the early stages of Janni's diagnosis. You can't help but experience the wide range of emotions, from anger to terrible sadness, at the terrifying ordeal of this young family. Yet, the Schofield's story has a relatively happy ending, offering a tale of hope and inspiration for working through an unfathomably difficult situation. For a similar true-life story of a parent's struggle with her child's illness, try A Lethal Inheritance by Victoria Costello. Or for a fictional role reversal, you might also try Schizo by Kim Firmston.


Katie L said...

I am reading this now based on your review. It is an amazing, emotional and fast read! Thank you for sharing this title.

Kaitlin said...

You're welcome! I'm glad you're enjoying it. I can't imagine what it's like to be a parent in that situation.