Stephanie's Reviews > January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her

January First by Michael Schofield
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May 23, 12

Read in May, 2012

I am not a big memoir reader but the description of this book just caught me up. Having mental illness in my extended family, I think I related. However, nothing prepared me for the extent of the illness of this child and the ineptitude of the system. They have completely failed her and her family. This is an ongoing issue across the country. She is just an extreme case.

The writing was a little rough and irregular. This could have been helped in editing or by a ghost writer. However, by not using a ghost writer you get the real voice. You get the raw emotional struggles of the author (Janni's father) as well as his own struggles. She comes by her mental illness naturally. There were several incidences that could have been expanded on more to give a fuller picture but not having them expanded did not detract from the story.

This book put me in mind of another book written by an emotionally terrified and scarred parent - Bubble Gum Trooper. This one was also rough and raw and not written by a ghost writer. The emotional hit to the reader was just as hard because it was raw. There wasn't the glossy feel to it that you get with so many memoirs.

I read another review where they wanted to read this farther into the future to see how Janni's progress goes. If you check their blog, you will see that they are back together again and dealing. I personally preferred to see this written now because it is an extreme case and highlights the failures. You see that they system didn't fail her later on down the line - it failed her from the beginning. For me, it also proved just how far you will go for your children.
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