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Mad House: Growing Up In the Shadow Of Mentally Ill Siblings

Simon, Clea

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ISBN 10: 0385478526 / ISBN 13: 9780385478526
Verlag: Doubleday
Gebraucht Zustand: Fine Hardcover
Verkäufer Robinson Street Books, IOBA (Binghamton, NY, USA)

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0385478526 First edition. Near fine in near fine dust jacket. Quality, Value, Experience. Media Shipped in New Boxes. Buchnummer des Verkäufers BING42905

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Mad House: Growing Up In the Shadow Of ...

Verlag: Doubleday

Einband: Hardcover


Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

Auflage: 1st Edition

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When the Boston Globe first published Clea Simon's cover story on growing up with her two schizophrenic siblings, the response was overwhelming. "Healthy" siblings constitute that silent majority of people who have grown up in dysfunctional families and, largely due to their age have often stood on the sidelines as the tragic consequences of a mental disorder claimed either the health or life of a brother or sister. For Clea Simon, the experience was shattering as first her beloved, older brother Daniel, the brilliant Harvard freshman started hearing voices and dropping out of school when his schizophrenia made functioning impossible. And then again as the same illness claimed her sister Althea, who has bounced around from one state institution to another after her parents eventually gave up on helping the daughter who refused their help.
The issues "well" siblings face run the gamut from guilt (why do I deserve to be OK?), fear (what are the chances that I have this disease, or that my children may inherit it?), to the burden of caring for a sibling (am I my brother's keeper?), and overcompensating in the family, or its converse, acting destructively to get attention. In talking to hundreds of other siblings and experts in the field, Simon has written a comprehensive book that combines the best of memoir writing with the kind of practical advice that should ease the pain of any brother or sister who has felt helpless in the face of a sibling's mental illness.


Tales of family dysfunction have become so commonplace that a postcard witticism suggests that a conference for children of functional families would be sparsely attended. Certainly Clea Simon, whose two older siblings were gripped by schizophrenia in their teens, wouldn't be there. She lays out a bleak, affecting story of growing up in a family where the spotlight necessarily shone on the insistent dissociations of a brother she remembers as once gentle and brilliant and a sister whose screeching, violent terrors sent young Simon scrambling for safety. Cogent explanations of mental illness and slices of therapy interweave with Simon's stories and those of similarly besieged families and siblings who must dismantle huge emotional barricades in order to live fully as adults. Sometimes this mix is uneasy, such as when a professionally cool distance too swiftly replaces the white heat of painful memories.

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