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January First: A Child's Descent into…
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January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to… (edició 2012)

de Michael Schofield (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
3056665,011 (3.9)13
A brilliant and harrowingly honest memoir, this is the extraordinary story of a father's fight to save his child from an extremely severe case of mental illness in the face of overwhelming adversity.
Membre:katihinds
Títol:January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her
Autors:Michael Schofield (Autor)
Informació:Crown (2012), Edition: 1, 304 pages
Col·leccions:USFSM Book Club
Valoració:*****
Etiquetes:Book Club, Non-Fiction, Memoir, Mental Illness

Detalls de l'obra

January first : a child's descent into madness and her father's struggle to save her de Michael Schofield

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» Mira també 13 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 66 (següent | mostra-les totes)
I read and added this book to my LT account when it came out in 2012, but did not review it at that time, in part because I wasn't sure what to make of it. On the surface, author Michael Schofield and his wife Susan seemed like dedicated, self-sacrificing parents to "schizophrenic" January and her brother Bodhi, but something seemed a little off. The parents seemed to bask in their children's alleged mental illnesses. The family also made the rounds of all the daytime TV talk shows (I missed all of these appearances).

As I write this review, it is seven years later, and I've read that the now-divorced Susan and Michael have lost custody and are being investigated for medical abuse of their children. Both children had been fed high doses of anti-psychotic drugs for years. Allegedly, Susan Schofield even took her son Bodhi to fifty different doctors to try to get him a diagnosis of schizophrenia like his sister's. This book is readable, but it represents further exploitation of Jani and her brother.

I rarely give a book one star; I reserve that low rating for books that have something morally wrong about them. I now consider this to be one of those few books. ( )
  akblanchard | May 11, 2019 |
I can understand why people hated this book. Janni's family seems far more dysfunctional than she is, but I enjoyed reading it. The father has far more issues than his daughter and tries to make himself to be the martyr. I heard that later his wife left him when he had an affair, and yet he claimed it was their fault for putting the children first is incredibly wrong. I feel as though the children were made to be the guilty parties for all of the parent's sins. That being said, I still enjoyed the read. I think sometimes I have to find the good in the characters and other times I'm okay just going along for the ride. ( )
  ISCCSandy | Apr 9, 2019 |
I can understand why people hated this book. Janni's family seems far more dysfunctional than she is, but I enjoyed reading it. The father has far more issues than his daughter and tries to make himself to be the martyr. I heard that later his wife left him when he had an affair, and yet he claimed it was their fault for putting the children first is incredibly wrong. I feel as though the children were made to be the guilty parties for all of the parent's sins. That being said, I still enjoyed the read. I think sometimes I have to find the good in the characters and other times I'm okay just going along for the ride. ( )
  ISCCSandy | Apr 9, 2019 |
Münchausen syndrome by proxy ( )
  turningleaves | Sep 22, 2017 |

Every now and then I picked up a book which so absorbs me I read it almost
without pause. January First was one of these. While it is subtitled A child's
descent into madness and her father's struggle to save her, it is so much more
than that. I first became aware of January (or Jani as she insists on) through
the wonder of daytime television, and when I discovered her father had written a
book I couldn't wait to get it.



From birth, Jani is a challenging child. She never slept for more than 20-30
minutes at a time and then only if her parents, Michael and Susan, spent the day
stimulating her and taking her to places to tire her out. By the time she was
one she was speaking in complete sentences, by the time she is two she is asking
about negative numbers. She has a number of imaginary friends, particularly a
cat called 400 and seven rats named Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and they all live on Calalini. Convinced she is a
genius, her parents are finally able to get an IQ test done which shows that it
is 146 - not quite as high as they were expecting but given her age, still
significant. At the same time Jani is showing very different behaviours from
that expected of a toddler, and she is quite antisocial. Her parents put this
down to the disconnect between her chronological age and her mental capabilities
and her father is determined to protect her potential often clashing with his
wife who wants her to socialise in the way that regular pre-schoolers do. It
becomes a cause of friction between them, and in some ways, blinkers Michael's
approach.



Only when her brother Bohdi is born and Jani is so violent towards him from the
day they bring him home that neither child can be left on their own, do alarm
bells start to ring and Michael and Susan begin to search for answers. Jani is
assessed by psychologists and psychiatrists, hospitalised, medicated at levels
which would turn an adult to a zombie, yet her behaviour scarcely changes.
Nothing can stop Jani obeying Wednesday's commands to hit Bohdi, and even though
Michael and Susan put themselves in harm's way to protect him, nothing will
distract her until she has carried out what needs to be done.



January First is Michael's story of his daughter's life, the battles he took on,
the mistakes he made, his roller-coaster relationship with Susan as both seek to
give Jani a stable, if not ordinary, life and a safe haven for Bohdi. It is a
story of frustration, despair, hope and faith.



But it is also the story of a society that still sees mental illness as a stigma
rather than accepting a broken brain in the way it accepts a broken leg. It is
a story of a society where there appears to be little support for parents of
mentally ill children so there only respite is when the child is in school in a
situation never designed to cater for such extreme needs or when she is
hospitalised in circumstances that make your draw drop at the lack of empathy
and care. It is a story of a system that is not geared to cater for and manage
mental illness in children. It is a story of a system where health care is
dependent on your ability to pay and the health insurer's willingness to do so,
so that as well as battling the illness, you also have to battle bureaucracy.
It is a story that will break your heart and make you want to fight for the
rights of Jani and others like her.



When I was at teachers college as a young mum, we had to visit a local hospital
where severely physically and mentally disabled children lived and I gave thanks
that my newborn son was so healthy. As a grandparent, I give thanks that my
little people are not Jani. As a teacher, I gained great insight into what it
must be like for parents living with a child with a mental illness. Jani's
story puts things into perspective. There's a saying that there is always
someone worse off than you, but in this case, it would be hard to know what that
would be particularly as it now seems that Bohdi is following Jani's path



I thank Michael Schofield for writing it - there is so much we can learn from
his baring his soul in this way. I hope he and Susan continue to have the
courage and strength and love that shine through this book on every page, and
that the rest of us listen and do what we can to make life better for parents
and children in this situation.



This book is an absolute must-read - just ensure that you give yourself a long,
interrupted time to do so, and give every child in your life a warmer smile
today.
( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 66 (següent | mostra-les totes)
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A brilliant and harrowingly honest memoir, this is the extraordinary story of a father's fight to save his child from an extremely severe case of mental illness in the face of overwhelming adversity.

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