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Annita Sawyer's memoir is a harrowing, heroic, and redeeming story of her battle with mental illness, and her triumph in overcoming it. In 1960, as a suicidal teenager, Sawyer was institutionalized, misdiagnosed, and suffered through 89 electroshock treatments before being transfered, labeled as "unimproved." The damage done has haunted her life. Discharged in 1966, after finally receiving proper psychiatric care, Sawyer kept her past secret and moved on to graduate from Yale University, raise two children, and become a respected psychotherapist. That is, until 2001, when she reviewed her hospital records and began to remember a broken childhood and the even more broken mental health system of the 1950s and 1960s, Revisiting scenes from her childhood and assembling the pieces of a lost puzzle, her autobiography is a cautionary tale of careless psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, both 50 years ago and today. It is an informative story about understanding PTSD and making emotional sense of events that can lead a soul to darkness. Most of all, it's a story of perseverance: pain, acceptance, healing, hope, and success. Hers is a unique voice for this generation, shedding light on an often misunderstood illness.
In the vein of The Glass Castle, Breaking Night is the stunning memoir of a young woman who at age fifteen was living on the streets, and who eventually made it into Harvard. Liz Murray was born to loving but drug-addicted parents in the Bronx. In school she was taunted for her dirty clothing and lice-infested hair, eventually skipping so many classes that she was put into a girls' home. At age fifteen, Liz found herself on the streets when her family finally unraveled. She learned to scrape by, foraging for food and riding subways all night to have a warm place to sleep. When Liz's mother died of AIDS, she decided to take control of her own destiny and go back to high school, often completing her assignments in the hallways and subway stations where she slept. Liz squeezed four years of high school into two, while homeless; won a New York Times scholarship; and made it into the Ivy League. Breaking Night is an unforgettable and beautifully written story of one young woman's indomitable spirit to survive and prevail, against all odds.
The bold, bright colors of India leap right off the page in this fresh and funny picture book adaptation of how Ganesha came to write the epic poem of Hindu literature, the Mahabharata. Ganesha is just like any other kid, except that he has the head of an elephant and rides around on a magical mouse. And he loves sweets, especially the traditional dessert laddoo. But when Ganesha insists on biting into a super jumbo jawbreaker laddoo, his tusk breaks off! Ganesha is terribly upset, but with the help of the wise poet Vyasa, he learns that what seems broken can actually be quite useful after all. With vibrant, graphic illustrations, expressive characters, and offbeat humor, this is a wonderfully inventive twist on a classic tale.
Ghent-Fuller offers insights into emotional reactions and practical suggestions based on deep understanding of the way people with dementia view many situations. She explains the loss of various types of memory and other thinking processes, and describes how these losses affect the day to day life of people with dementia, their understanding of the world around them and their personal situations.
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Kristen Stewart (as JT) and Laura Dern. The JT LeRoy scandal is a story of our times. In January 2006, the New York Times unmasked Savannah Knoop as the face of the mysterious author JT LeRoy. A media frenzy ensued as JT’s fans, mentors, and readers came to terms with the fact that the gay-male-ex-truck-stop-prostitute-turned literary-wunderkind was really a girl from San Francisco, whose sister-in-law wrote the books. Girl Boy Girl is the story of how Savannah Knoop led this bizarre double life for six years, trading a precarious existence as a college dropout for a life in which she was embraced by celebrities and artists—Carrie Fisher, Courtney Love, Mary Ellen Mark, Winona Ryder, Asia Argento, Sharon Olds, Gus Van Sant, Mike Pitt, Calvin Klein, and Shirley Manson, to name a few—and traveled the world. Telling her side of the story for the first time, Savannah reveals how being perceived as a boy gave her a sense of confidence and entitlement she never had before. Her love affair with Asia Argento is particularly wrenching, as they embark on an intimate relationship that causes more alienation than closeness. As Savannah and Laura struggle over control of the JT character, Savannah realizes the limits of the game - - and inadvertently finds herself through the adventure of being someone else.
Travel with one heartbroken family as they struggle to find help for their son, face unspeakable tragedy, receive unexpected forgiveness, and deal with the aftermath of a child whose mental health issues ended in calamity . . . and transformation. Discover the confidence that buoys author Joan Becker and her family as they push for reform in the broken mental health system before more lives are ruined. Their story offers hope, help, and heart-felt compassion. "Joan Becker has a generous spirit and kind heart that come forward in this book. By sharing her family's experience she'll help other families struggling with mental illness feel less alone. That's a tremendous accomplishment when the illness causes feelings of isolation and hopelessness for parents who are desperate to help their suffering child. The mental health system can and should be better, and this book inspires all of us to do everything we can to make it so." U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
“I decide that from now on we should listen to him. His lip may be deflated and his left side paralyzed, but he knows. And he has made terrible mistakes. But he knows. He knows. We are lucky that way.” Lucky That Way, a nuanced, richly engaging memoir, chronicles the joys and tribulations of a daughter who rediscovers her father as he nears the end of his life. Ernie Gerhardt, an artist and teacher, is largely estranged from his five children, but when he suffers a debilitating stroke, his daughter Pamela must fly to Las Vegas to tend to him. When she arrives to find Ernie newly and shockingly fragile, she is hit by an unexpected wave of tenderness. As she watches over him in intensive care, she recalls turning points in her family history—the early death of her mother and her father’s turn to heavy drinking--and reflects on the idiosyncrasies that make an imperfect and unique family, on what it means to become old, on what happens when parents are no longer the caregivers but the cared-for, and on how a family copes with their responsibility to the elderly. Written in a crisp, engaging style, the story is less about the drudgery of finding the right mix of medicines, at-home caregivers, and rehabilitation centers and more about the emotional ramifications of caring for the sick under the weight of sometimes flawed attachments. People make mistakes, grow old, get sick, and pass on from this world. Lucky That Way examines the irritations and comforts of contemporary family bonds. Gerhardt sifts through the complicated, multi-layered relationships for both wry comedy and high drama and records a string of triumphs and mishaps as Ernie and his five adult children struggle to manage his life and find meaning before their time runs out. The emerging theme of imperfect humans struggling with life's great mysteries will strike a chord of recognition with the tens of thousands of Baby-Boomers and Gen-Xers who are currently facing similar circumstances with their elderly loved ones. Pamela Gerhardt’s heartfelt story about a family coming to terms with their aging father’s illness and imminent death takes readers on an emotional roller coaster that highlights love, loss, humor, and sadness.

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