Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Book Review: Henry's Demons

I can't help it. I like reading books about mental illnesses, and this was a really good one!
Henry's Demons is a true story written from several perspectives: Henry (a young adult diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 18), his mother, and his father. We hear the experience from the first onset of Henry's illness, to the family's struggle with the British mental health care system, and then to recovery.

This story would be interesting even if it was fictional, but the incredible thing about it is that it is completely nonfiction and portrays a struggle that so many families around the world have to deal with. Many families know nothing about mental illness until it emerges in their own lives. I don't want to ruin the story for you so I won't go into great detail, but to hear the story from the different perspectives makes it feel very real.

My favorite narrator in the story is Henry. It was extremely interesting to hear his inner thought processes as he recalls his behavior. Many of the things he did while experiencing delusions and hallucinations were extremely dangerous and could have cost him his life, but in his mind at the time his actions were normal and practical. It is truly a miracle that he survived to tell his story.

I know I am a social worker and maybe my interests are be a little different from most. Actually, it was one of my professors who recommended this book to me. However, this book was not written as a text book. It's written as a readable story that anyone could enjoy and become immersed in. I could not put this book down, and I don't think you'll be able to, either!

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