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Ben Behind His Voices: One Family's Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope
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Ben Behind His Voices: One Family's Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  435 ratings  ·  57 reviews
When readers first meet Ben, he is a sweet, intelligent, seemingly well-adjusted youngster. Fast forward to his teenage years, though, and Ben's life has spun out of control. Ben is swept along by an illness over which he has no control--one that results in runaway episodes, periods of homelessness, seven psychotic breaks, seven hospitalizations, and finally a diagnosis an ...more
Hardcover, 299 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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Daniel Hammarberg
Jun 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
Horrifying Read - A Testament to Abuse of Power and Parental Authority

With the interest I have in getting an insight into the living circumstances of people suffering from schizophrenia and perhaps a glimpse of their unique way of seeing things, Randye Kaye's book did catch my eye, So I went ahead and read it. It was even lauded as "inspirational" in the description, but to me it was anything but. What I really got out of the book was an insight into how parental power and medical authority tr
Aug 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Let me begin by saying that this is one of the best books I've read this year. It touched me deep inside both as a parent and as a professional. I'm a Special Care Counsellor, and I have encountered mental illness both in my extended family and in my field. I quickly realized as I began reading that this is an important book, which is one of the reasons I made a request to the author to review it. I had no idea what to expect when I received it, but I didn't think it would be so good, so well-wr ...more
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another book read in my quest to learn more about mental health issues, particularly as they pertain to adolescents. This first person report from the mother of a young man who was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia after many years of struggle is outstanding. Rather than just telling her story, the author includes in every chapter lessons that she hopes others can take from her experience. As a result of her son's illness, she is involved with parent to parent education through NAMI (National ...more
So I read this book to get informed as a friend of someone who may be facing these issues. It is aimed at families who are. But I would recommend it to anyone who simply wants to get educated about the experiences of others and rid themselves of stereotypes in any area.

The book is a true account of a young man's heartbreaking descent into schizophrenia, written by his mother. First of all, let me applaud the absolute bravery of this woman,especially dealing with this issue as a single parent. Sh
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure if "enjoy" is the right word to use about this book but I could hardly put it down. It was so heartbreaking to read about Ben's slow deterioration and all the angst Randye had about his behavior. It was also heartbreaking to read about all the misdiagnoses that happened before they finally figured things out.

It was all too real. Randye has gathered a really good list of resources for people dealing with schizophrenia or the families members dealing with some with mental illness. I a
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a difficult to experience story and I know it will be impossible for some people to hear it at all. Nevertheless, it is detailed, well written, well presented plus not only is it a particular family’s truth but it is the truth of the way it is. It expresses a reality that could have been so much worse.
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, listened
In contrast to another person's review, I think this mother deserves high praise for how she stuck by her son. ...more
C. Janelle
Feb 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book isn't a great work of literature, but it's solidly written and has just so much to it. It's not only readable but enjoyable and eye-opening.

In it, author Randye Kaye candidly recounts her son's descent into schizophrenia and the gradual, two-steps-forward, one-step-back progress towards what she terms "recovery."

She addresses the fear and doubt she felt as a parent as she tried to reason through what was happening to her son, tried to get him the appropriate help, and at the same time
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an honest and heartbreaking story of a mother's journey with a son who has gradual onset schizophrenia. It is both terrifying and tragic that such a lovable, charming and intelligent young man becomes victim to this horrible mental illness. With such little research into mental illness, this book calls for more research into the causes, diagnoses and treatment of mental illness. I felt such frustration and sadness for the author who had to deal with daily terrors of a son in the throes ...more
Jan 31, 2013 rated it liked it
3.5 I have read quite a bit on mental illness and had been wanting to read this book for a while. I found it educational overall and my heart went out to "Ben" and his family as his illness tore them apart. There were a few things that struck me as odd in the book - and they don't even really bear mentioning, other than after I read them I was like "what?".... (view spoiler) ...more
May 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
When Randye's teenage son Ben first started acting out, she assumed he was just being a teenager. When his grades slipped and he started running away, she had him checked for ADD. When he dropped out of school, she wondered if he was depressed. But when he sat in the garden all night talking to a tree, thoughts of mental illness started to loom.

This was an interesting and frightening account of one family's experience when a loved member of that family slowly starts to go mad. Since I had seen t
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it
What an up close and personal look into this family's battle with a mental illness. I originally received this book as a gift from a supervisor and I wasn't disappointed with the content. This book is about getting help. It isn't some fluffy story that tells you that everything is going to be okay once your family is hit with mental illness. It is a story about realistically adjusting what your family sees as normal, it's about survival, it's about locating resources and most importantly it is a ...more
Heather Frimmer
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is educational, eye-opening and at times heartbreaking. Ben is a happy, normal child, bringing joy his mother and sister and putting smiles on the faces of those he meets. But when he is a teenager, his personality slowly begins to change. He becomes moody, sullen and argumentative, his old focus and motivation nowhere to be found. His mother tries everything she can think of to help him, to no avail. Years later, after numerous consultations with therapists, interventions and even bru ...more
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I chose to read this book because May is mental health awareness month and because I have a brother who struggles with schizophrenia. This book was well written and very informative. I found this story to be a true story of hope. I encourage everyone to read this book whether you know someone who struggles with mental illness or not. It’s a must read.
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having a relative with this illness, I was particularly interested in this story. Written by Ben's mother, Randye Kaye, she places the reader in the midst of her family's turmoil. She doesn't pull any punches in the feelings she has over time as she and Ben, along with her daughter Ali, battle this disease. At times it is heart-wrenching and extremely frustrating as there appears to be progress one moment, then chaos. The book speaks to a variety of issues related to the illness itself including ...more
Linda Nichols
Apr 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What can you say about a book that chronicles the descent of a sweet child into mental illness? This is an excellent book, which everyone should read. Mental illness -- and especially schizophrenia -- is so stigmatized that people are afraid of those who are ill. It is sad to watch, with the author, as her sweet, bright son deteriorates before her eyes, and the years of seeking it took before someone correctly diagnosed his disease. And her reactions -- not wanting to be with him, but wanting to ...more
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kathy-s-shelf
What an amazing book! Very informative, but above all, the love the author has for her son, Ben, shines through - even when Ben is feeling his worst. How this woman was able to handle this pretty much by herself is beyond me. I think there were days when she only had 2 hours of sleep. She had to find out what was wrong with Ben, then try to find someone who could help him, go through all kinds of red tape, still work, raise a daughter, - & Ben was not always cooperative. I highly recommend this ...more
Pauline Hansen
Jun 12, 2013 rated it liked it
While there was plenty to learn from this account, I found it to be tedious and laborious. A much more concise account would have been preferable. The details were far too many and over explained, and often unnecessary. I do, however, commend Randye Kaye for her persistence in the face of enormous difficulties, for her strength and perseverance in the midst of great trial. I read this book because I've wanted to see what other families have gone through when schizophrenia entered their lives, as ...more
Gabi Coatsworth
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I wasn't planning to read this while on a trip to London, but it was so gripping I had to take it with me. Randye Kaye's story of her son's gradual descent into schizophrenia,had me hoping and despairing by turns, but rooting for Ben all the way. I know this story is true, because it so exactly mirrors my own, and it could only have been written by someone who's been there. The style is polished and fast-paced, with helpful sidebars giving practical information. I highly recommend this to anyone ...more
Leslie Zampetti
Sep 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Kaye has written a book valuable in two ways - as a beacon of hope for families with members afflicted by schizophrenia and as a wake-up call to to society to rethink prejudices against mental illness and the (lack of a) safety net for these vulnerable members. Tracing the journey of Ben's childhood and teen years to the moment in young adulthood when he was finally diagnosed - albeit incorrectly at first - as ill, Kaye creates a moving portrait of a her and her' son's struggle to understand wha ...more
Evanston Public  Library
Ben was an average teenager until his world began to crumble. Unable to focus and diagnosed with ADD, he dropped out of school at the age of 16. He spent the next few years jumping from job to job and misdiagnosis to misdiagnosis. It was finally in his early twenties that Ben was diagnosed with schizophrenia and he and his family began to get the help they desperately needed to heal.

Author Randye Kaye, Ben's mother and a radio personality, writes honestly and with hope of her family's journey th
Karen Mayes
Feb 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
OK, it's a bit heartbreaking autobiography/biography. My mom had schizophrenia, which was diagnosed after I left for college (mania depressive disorder, bipolar, etc... before finally schizophrenia.) She drank and popped pills like candies, so I really don't remember the positive and negative symptoms of her schizophrenia. But the bottom line is that her feelings more or less mirror my feelings as a mom of a child with severe mental illness (not schizophrenia though.) It calls for patience, cour ...more
Phyllis Jennings
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The harrowing story of a parent's progress through life with a mentally ill child is again documented, this time most helpfully- with "chapter guideposts" provided. Though I thankfully don't have a child with this devastating illness, I would think that this book could be more helpful than most. It is not just an adrenalin rush through the chaos such a personality unraveling brings; it provides more- step-by-step suggestions to help a parent's progession through each stage of the disease. ...more
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read!

I’ve been on this journey in the world of schizophrenia for eight years with my family member. In many ways, Randye’s story parallels ours.
It’s important to hear other’s stories so that we know we’re not alone. Randye also adds guidance at the end of each chapter with critical information for anyone on this journey.
I’d recommend this book to anyone, whether or not you’re dealing with schizophrenia in your life.
A New Perspective

As a person with schizophrenia, I have never seen the journey through mental illness from the viewpoint of a parent. This book made me think, laugh, cry, and many other emotions. I related in many ways to Ben and saw my own mother in Randye. More people, in varying situations, need to read this eye-opening book.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was crazy good. The things sam's mother had to go through were beyond crazy. Very entertaining/informational for those wondering what it would be like to live with someone with a mental illness. ...more
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book...a unique hybrid between a memoir with an emphasis on a mother's heartbreaking (and incredibly brave) experience in coping with her son's ongoing schizophrenia and an educational tool for all families dealing with mental illness. ...more
Lynn Kinnaman
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book has been one of the most meaningful books to my life. It is my story, almost to a tee. I so related to her experiences with her son because they are so similar to my story. And I learned so much.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Told by a family member this memoir gives an important perspective on how the love and commitment of family members plays an important role in recovery. Listening to the audiobook gave an all-too real glimpse into the lives of all family members.
Cindy Hurst
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading a perspective of a family member of someone with Schizophrenia, as well as a perspective of a family member who has sent their child to a group home, as I worked at one once... Good perspective.
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Randye Kaye is the author of Ben Behind His Voices: One Family’s Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope , (Rowman & Littlefield, 2011)

Randye's hope for this memoir is that it will help share the honest experience of families, increase respect and understanding for those with mental illness, reduce stigma, and offer resources as well as hope. Publishers' Weekly calls it a "must-read."

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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