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The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness
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The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  7,865 ratings  ·  377 reviews
At seventeen Lori Schiller was the perfect child -- the only daughter of an affluent, close-knit family. Six years later she made her first suicide attempt, then wandered the streets of New York City dressed in ragged clothes, tormenting voices crying out in her mind. Lori Schiller had entered the horrifying world of full-blown schizophrenia. She began an ordeal of hospita ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 1st 1996 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1994)
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Bobbi Smiley Her parents were of great wealth. They also were of great great love.
I agree with Ilona...she was close several times. I think she is a miracle. I wan…more
Her parents were of great wealth. They also were of great great love.
I agree with Ilona...she was close several times. I think she is a miracle. I want to look up the drug that she mentioned.(less)

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I think at some stage in our lives, we take our physical and mental health for granted, some of us without even meaning to do so. I honestly feel like a person cannot truly understand mental illness unless they have been through it themselves. It is that simple. Yes, family and friends can empathise and give all the support they possibly can, but when it comes down to it, even after all of the medication, the therapy or the CBT, you are the only one that can turn it around.

This is a true story
This book was (I imagine heavily) co-written, and as a result, it doesn't pack the emotional punch of books such as The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, Girl, Interrupted, or Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir.

I was also annoyed by the way the book was framed as a story of personal “triumph” and “courage” (to quote the book's jacket copy). Obviously, Lori Schiller was extremely lucky to have to the emotional and financial support she needed to forge a life where, in her words, “it is I
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing


^^That's how this book made me feel. I can give it nothing less than 5 stars because I don't think that you can "rate" a non-fiction. I wish it were fiction. I wish schizophrenia were fiction.

You know, one time I attended a NAMI meeting. National Alliance on Mental Illness. It's suppose to be for the family members of those with mental illness. Their motto is: "You are not alone in this fight". After going to that meeting, I had nev
Feb 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
The majority of people with schizophrenia remain too cognitively disorganized to disclose their innermost thoughts and impressions of their illness, so the fact that such a brash, yet cohesive, account exists is fascinating in itself. As someone who hopes to work with individuals with mental illness, I unearthed many tidbits that are useful for clinical practice-- from how the quiet room served as a blank white canvas onto which she sprayed her internal chaos onto, exacerbating the terror, to ho ...more
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone with an interest in schizophrenia, not only mental health profesionals
Recommended to K by: Frumasara (her to-read list, actually)
Many of us realize (occasionally, at least) that we take our physical health for granted, but does it ever enter our consciousness how much we take our psychological health for granted? Imagine being a perfectly normal young adult from a happy family and privileged background, popular and headed for success, and suddenly hearing voices that no one hears, frightening and extremely real-sounding, so that it becomes harder and harder to distinguish between what's real and what isn't. Gradually, you ...more
 Sarah Lumos
Re-read: Nov 14/18 Instead of reading new books, I have been trying to return to old books. Sometimes a book captivates you, but you go through it so quickly that you cannot absorb it in its entirety. The Quiet Room was one of those books. It is a raw and unforgettable memoir about mental illness. A well-written and enjoyable read overall.

Previous Review

As someone who works in the social service sector, I have seen how isolating living with a mental illness can be. It is why books like th
It’s no secret I like memoirs by people who have mental illness, but The Quiet Room goes deep. Lori Schiller is schizophrenia and manic depression (bi-polar) and the way she is able to write about her disorders brings great insight. She doesn’t remember it all and parts she felt were important that she didn’t remember she had family members or doctors write what she was like during that time. She hears voices and experiences mood swings, she lived a normal life at first with these issues, she gr ...more
Aug 06, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a poorly written book. I got so tired of hearing from her family, who in multiple chapters kept repeating over and over how this illness stole their daughter away from their perfect upper middle class life. I get it- no one expected it, she was supposed to go to college and get married and have kids. But it was every freaking time they talked. I think the book being written by two people, and making such heavy use of writing and words that originally belonged to others, contributed to i ...more
Oct 28, 2010 rated it liked it
I am reading this to help me gain insight into my sister's mental illness. Unfortunately, the author has schizo-affective disorder while my sister is paranoid-schizophrenic and it is obvious from the early part of the book (I am about 1/2 through) that there are significant differences. The book is poorly written and not as insightful as I would have hoped. It doesn't answer many obvious questions. For example, I've often wondered about the voices. Are they the voices of people she knows? Are th ...more
Lindsay Stoffers
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A great book and wonderful advocation for those suffering from mental health disorders. Hearing a first account story of a woman who suffers from schizophrenia inspires me and my work with clients in the mental health profession. Thanks for sharing your story Lori.
Grace Jensen
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any one dealing with mental health issues, their families, and those who care for them.
Recommended to Grace by: garage sale
Shelves: garage-sale-find
If you were tempted to pick up Girl, Interrupted, I would recommend this instead. I couldn't put it down once I started, even though it was rich with truth.
This doesn't glamorize mental illness, like some literature tends to do. Instead it reads almost like a documentary. Each person (her, her parents, siblings, and doctor) is honest, sometimes uncomfortably so, and it builds respect and trust reading it. I found myself rooting for Lori, wanting to yell at the book, encourage her and help her a
Debbie "DJ"
Mar 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mental-health, memoir
This is a true story of the authors journey through and with schizophrenia. I liked how it was told from the various viewpoints of her family, psychiatrists, and her own perspective. I loved the authors writing and how she was able to take me into her world. The experience is something I cannot imagine living. I now have a new understand of how this disease affects everyone in the sufferers life. How it has a sudden onset in the late teens and destroys all connections to the outside world. Voice ...more
Miranda  Nelson
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I liked how it was a true story and gave an accurate depiction of someone who lives with schizophrenia. However, it wasn't an easy read. It was tough to look inside Lori's brain and see the torment that she endured for years and years. She went from being a normal kid with a normal life and the next day she began hearing the voices. Throughout the story, it had to be told from different points of view like her mother, father, and friend. This was because at some point ...more
Interesting read. A couple thoughts I had throughout:
1) The author had MONEY and a supportive and educated family. Terrifying to consider what her situation would have been like without either of these things.
2) Of course, sadness. So much lost potential.
3) In Lori's case, was therapy really doing any good? Seems that there was little "journey" out of madness, just life with and without medication; once the medication was introduced, the problems diminished quite a bit.
4) How has the treatment
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating account of a woman born into an ambitious family, intelligent, accepted to an Ivy League university, who finds herself disturbed by Voices and experiencing wild mood swings. Her description of what goes on inside her head gives insight into the incredible challenges involved with living with schizophrenia. She survives the disbelief/denial of her illness by her family and herself, several hopitalizations, and brain-numbing medications, to finally find a medication which allows her ...more
Samantha Mitchell
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I learned a lot about the processes taken in the care system when you have a mental illness and about schizophrenia itself. She obviously came from an upper class family; because of that I wonder if her care was different. I REALLY hated her parents. I found them selfish. It just felt like a lot of it had been co-written, I started to feel like chapters were similar and I didn’t get the same personal feelings as I did with My Lovely Wife in the Phych Ward, for example. After that, though, still ...more
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Roper
Jun 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Candid and insightful. An essential read for anyone that wants to better understand severe mental health issues.
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Quiet Room by Lori Schiller, which was first published in 1994, was February's choice for my Mad Woman's Book Club. It sounded incredibly intriguing to me, and created quite a lot of buzz with other members. Schiller's account of her schizo-affective disorder, which contains elements of both schizophrenia and manic depression, has been written with the guidance of Amanda Bennett, a Wall Street journalist.

Schiller's diagnosis was not reached until she was twenty-three years old, and a graduat
Jul 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: culture
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jillian by: Literacy Center Library
I only had a few titles to choose from when I looked to borrow audio tapes at the tutoring center and I'm very glad that I chose this one. Lori Schiller traces the course of her once normal life that suddenly became dominated by the voices, hallucinations, depression, and other debilitating symptoms of schizophrenia. Her prose is rarely striking or poetic but that only highlights the horror of her experiences. Quiet Room is the illuminating and arresting autobiography by a woman who has learned ...more
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
"Maybe she would be better off dead." This is the heartbreaking consideration of the parents of Lori Schiller, a woman who, at the age of about 22, begins to exhibit symptoms of schizo-affective disorder. After years and years of treatment, hospitalization, drugs, a halfway house, discharges from facilities and therapy, her parents (and Lori herself) begin to wonder what kind of quality of life she can ever have. This book a collaborative narartive of her life and experience of a debilitating me ...more
This was a very hard book to read. Sometimes I wondered if Lori was making up a lot of it, but then again I have never known anyone personally with this disease. The torture her mind put her through is just incredible.

I didn't have a problem with others writing chapters of it, though. It gave more perspective and their voices of what she went through are important.

I admire the fact that Lori was finally able to become independent in her early 30's and get married at 42. She is a public speaker a
Anthony Gallegos
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A very good book from a person who has experienced the ravages of severe mental illness first-hand. As a person who has experienced paranoid-schizophrenia second-hand through my father, I can say that this book captures the realities of schizophrenia at its best and its worst. My father personally knows Lori Schiller and says she is an amazing woman, though anybody reading this book can see this to be true. A definite read for anybody interested in abnormal psychology or a great story about pers ...more
Amy Chamberlain
May 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I really enjoy books that let me see what it's like to have a mental illness, and there aren't many such illnesses that so powerfully upset the landscape of the mind as schizophrenia. Having said that, there are other books on the topic that give a much more compelling and clearer picture of that landscape than _The Quiet Room._ Schiller's story is interesting, but she gives too many details in one place and skims over another where I would have wanted to know more. (If you're interested, a much ...more
A.R. Wilmer
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
An overall interesting read. Schiller's voice was clear and poignant and she led us through her dark inner struggle with the Voices that accompanied her case of Schizophrenia.

There were lulls in the novel, but overall I think it was a strong and touching account of her life. I didn't feel like it was as emotional as it could have been, but I also felt like that was a bit of a reflection of the desensitization she felt during her illness.

I also loved the scope it showed—we were able to see how it
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
there are many memoirs on mental illness but this book was a whole new level, I sympathize with Lori's sufferings because it's absolutely horrific what she had to go through, Being a normal girl who was nothing but smart and happy..she did great in school and in college but it didn't stop the illness from swallowing her slowly, and alienating her from everyone ,Not to mention leading her into drug abuse, this book gave me another new perspective on schizophrenia and manic depression. ...more
Lindsey Sieders
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
This was a very interesting read, a real-life account of a young girl who struggles with mental illness. By 17 it beings to escalate and later she is diagnosed with schizophrenia. I appreciated the different chapters written by different people in her life, her mother, father, siblings, doctors, etc. Its important to note this book was written in 1994, I would be interested in reading more about current medical procedures for patients like Lori.
Aug 09, 2010 rated it liked it
An compelling, frightening look into schizophrenia. The writing isn't particularly engaging, but I kept reading to learn more about the disease and find out what happened to the author. Chapters are told from different points of view, including that of her brother, parents, room mate and therapist. This variation strengthened the book considerably. ...more
Jeannine Mason
May 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enlightening, engrossing, and a very sad commentary on how the mentally ill are still viewed today. It was wonderful that Lori Schilling was able to find the help she needed with the right doctors, medication and determination in the end, but how rare is her tale?
When your own family can not come to terms with your disease, how can society? Truly heartbreaking.
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