The Outsider: A Journey Into My Father's Struggle With Madness
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The Outsider: A Journey Into My Father's Struggle With Madness

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The Outsider is an unsentimental yet profoundly moving look at one family’s experience with mental illness. In 1978, Charles Lachenmeyer was a happily married professor of sociology who lived in the New York suburbs with his wife and nine-year-old son, Nathaniel. But within a few short years, schizophrenia–a devastating mental illness with no known cure–would cost him ever...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 14th 2001 by Broadway Books (first published 2000)
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David
A man goes from being a professor to being homeless and dying alone and forgotten, abandoned in a dingy apartment. A very sad story of a brilliant man's struggle with insanity, which ultimately led to his early demise. If you are interested in mental illness, particularly schizophrenia, this is a must read.
Elsimom
Son of schizophrenic father retraces his father’s steps and delusions after the father’s death. Gives a very interesting glimpse into the challenges faced by the mentally ill and homeless. However, the group felt that critical pieces of the story were missing. Worth considering.
Brigette
Well, I tried to read this book a couple of times. I hate to say it was uninteresting, slow, and so my attention went elsewhere while reading... I can understand (on the surface only, because this book was not well written) that the Author went through a very tough time as a child/adult with a Father that had left him because the Father suffered from Schizophrenia, but getting the emotional depth of it all across to the reader (me) was completely lost after the first two chapters. I didn't want...more
Carol
Definitely held my interest for awhile. A book to read in bed because I could put it down. What a tragedy for a family. So, was the cause of his father's schizophrenia the double bind? It probably exaserbatd his issues, but isn't schizophrenia genetic or at least organic in origin?

With 1/3 of all homeless being mentally ill, he brings up an excellent point in why more research is not done in this area.

Does this author write as part of his need to understand his father as well as his guilt? I w...more
Le Huong Giang
I read this book purposely after watching A beautiful mind (maybe a little too late?) The take-home messages were clear: we're passing by a perhaps bigger than we know (and care to know) population suffering from mental illness, without rightfully acknowledging that they are or used to be among us, with their own stories to be told. The best thought we could afford when we see a homeless talking to him/herself on the street might be "He/she is mad." Madness is a label and if we're satisfied with...more
Nicole
I am a nursing student and had to read this book for my mental health class. I am so glad I did. I never would have picked up this book on my own, but it has really opened up my eyes to what people with mental illnesses experience. I had the unique experience to take what I learned from this book into my practice, but Lachenmeyer makes it clear that we all pass by people struggling with mental illness daily without realizing they have a story, a family, and a history.
Reina
Well I'm finally done with the book after I took a break from reading it for a month. I never know a lot about schizophrenia, but after reading this book I feel like I have a lot more comprehensive idea of what its like to be affected by schizophrenia. Whether you're the one diagnosed, a relative or child, or someone who encounters them on the street, or are in the legal or mental health care system.
Maria
This memoir both shocks, and also has lighter moments that are funny, and LOL. The memoir is of 2 dysfunctional families. The hole in the roof moments is the best bit about he whole memoir. Letting your kids free, and be free spirited. It shows how adult madness and dispair affects children, and how some parents deal with their own issues.
Mark
A memoir about a son's investigation into his father's downfall due to paranoid schizophrenia. A poignant look at the travails of the mentally ill in this country that made me think twice on subfreezing winter nights when I get to go inside a nice warm home.
Jim
dad is a sociology prof at a university. then he slowly loses his mind, his family and his life. written by his estranged son who wonders "what happened?" powerful. good explanation of craziness.
Mary Catherine
Read this in college and it's stuck with me ever since. A fascinating exploration about the link between homelessness and schizophrenia.
Catherine
Gives you an entirely new outlook on the life of people with mental illness, and makes you thankful for what you have!!
Kris
Interesting retelling of a fathers struggle with mental illness
Lorie Eckert
A wrenching true story.
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