National Alliance on Mental Illness
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The Best of 2008
Editors note: Click on the titles to order directly from Amazon.com and NAMI will get a portion of the proceeds.
Screen Media DVD 2008. 100 minutes
Starring Joe Pantoliano, Marcia Gay Harden and Devon Gearhart, the film shows a mother’s struggle with schizophrenia and the impact on her family—as seen through the eyes of a 12-year old boy. Heart-breaking and heart-warming, with touches of humor, it is inspired by a true story. Writer and director Joe Greco is a NAMI member. Watch for the NAMI logo at the end of the credits.
by Steve Lopez (Putnam 2008. 288 pages)
The true story of musical prodigy Nathaniel Ayers, who developed schizophrenia while at the prestigious Julliard School of Music. He became a homeless person, living on the streets of Los Angeles until he was befriended by Lopez, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. The movie version will be released in April 2009, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr.
by Michael Greenberg (Other Press 2008. 238 pages.)
An excellent memoir—written by the father of a 15-year old daughter about her onset of bipolar disorder and its impact on their extended, blended family. His description of life on a psychiatric ward is exceptional: marked by critical insight and occasionally dark humor. He describes the uncertainty that marks the process of treatment and recovery, which will recur throughout his daughter’s life.
by Patrick Tracey (Bantam Dell 2008. 273 pages.)
The author decided to track the mystery of his family’s multi-generational struggle with schizophrenia after watching two of his sisters develop the disease in early adulthood.. At least three other relatives shared the diagnosis. The book mixes research, travel blog, genealogy, and discovery to uncover the roots and depth of schizophrenia in his family and Ireland.
by Bob Cohen, Ph.D. (Brandylane Publishers, Inc. 2008. 260 pages.)
A mystery novel about “custody relinquishment” through which parents are forced to turn their children over to states to get adequate treatment for them. A teenager is sent to an out-of-state residential treatment where he is accused of killing another boy. The hero uncovers the truth. In the process, readers learn about the mental health care system’s “questionable policies and practices.”