National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from
(800) 950-NAMI;

Best of 2006

NAMI's picks for the best books and movies of the year

December 2006

The end of the year typically signals the announcement of many annual "best" and "worst" lists.  So in that spirit, we have compiled our second annual "best of" list of some of the best books and movies of 2006. 

This year's list includes a novel, a comic strip, a true crime story, a movie starring two Oscar winners, and more. Indeed, 2006 provided an array of positive portrayals of the issues related to mental illness.  Here's hoping that 2007 provides even more.

Note: To purchase any of the items below, simply click the item name to be directed to NAMI will receive a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you.



Image  Sufficient Grace, Darnell Arnoult

A Southern novel that explores themes of faith, family, love, and redemption. It’s sensitive, at times humorous. It’s also about schizophrenia, inspired by the mother of the author.


 Image Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia, Pamela Spiro Wagner and Carolyn Spiro, M.D.

This harrowing but arresting memoir—written in alternating voices by identical twins, now in their 50s—reveals how devastating schizophrenia is to both the individual with mental illness and those who love her. Winner of the 2006 NAMI Literary Award


 Image The War Within: One More Step at a Time, Garry Trudeau

This compilation of Doonesbury comic strips details the daily life of Vietnam, Gulf War, and Iraq War veteran B.D., whose tour of duty was cut short by a near-death experience and the loss of his leg. Far more life-altering than the physical damage is the post-traumatic stress disorder that leaves him increasingly disoriented, hostile, withdrawn, and turning to alcohol to self-medicate.



Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness, Pete Early

Early presents "criminalization of the mentally ill" not as an abstract concept, but as one drawn in vivid, human dimensions, accompanied by objective and pained reflection. The book alternates between his son’s story in Northern Virginia and Miami-Dade County, where he was able to gain unprecedented access to one of the nation’s largest jails and its psychiatric ward, where guards freely admit to beating patients because, said one, "They’re criminals first, mentally ill second."


Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy, Kitty Dukakis and Larry Tye

Shock is two books in one, built in alternating chapters. The first is Dukakis’ personal narrative about her long struggle with the drug addiction and alcoholism that masked an underlying bipolar disorder -- which she in recent years has overcome through ECT.  The other is Tye’s journalistic examination of ECT as a therapy, and the controversies that surround it.

 Image The Ghost in the House: Motherhood, Raising Children and Struggling with Depression, Tracy Thompson

Beyond post-partum depression, there is maternal depression. To some degree, perspectives in the book may even apply to fathers, but Thompson’s work is informed by her own experience as a mother who lives with depression. It also draws extensively from a survey of almost 400 mothers.

 Image The Innocent Man, John Grisham

John Grisham tackles nonfiction for the first time with The Innocent Man, a true tale about murder and injustice in a small town. The Innocent Man chronicles the story of a man with mental illness, Ron Williamson, how he was arrested and charged with a crime he did not commit, how his case was (mis)handled and how an innocent man was sent to death row. Grisham's first work of nonfiction is shocking, disturbing, and enthralling--a must read for fiction and nonfiction fans.

 Image Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Patients, and Providers, E. Fuller Torrey, MD

The fifth edition of this definitive work includes the latest research findings on schizophrenia as well as the newest treatments available. New sections added in this edition include, “The Recovery Model,” “Herbal Treatments,” and “The Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry on Prescribing Patterns”. 


 Image Proof

In this feature film, a devoted daughter of a brilliant mathematician, whose life and work have been impacted by mental illness, must come face-to-face with her long-held fears about her own predisposition toward mental illness.  A 2006 Voice Award Winner


Purchase now from and a portion of your purchases will benefit people with mental illness.