Henry’s Demons

Henry’s Demons: Living With Schizophrenia, a Father and Son’s Story, By Patrick Cockburn and Henry Cockburn.Illustrated. 238 pages. Scribner. $25.

We haven’t have a chance to read it yet, but PsychOdyssey takes note of an interesting New York Times book review (February 2, 2011) of this newly published family account of living with schizophrenia. Anglo-Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn and his son Henry tell the story of Henry’s descent into schizophrenia. By the reviewer’s description, Henry’s case looks unusually florid. Also of interest is Henry’s apparent heavy adolescent use of marijuana before the actual onset at age 20. The review is mostly favorable, although we take exception to one of the reviewer’s more insouciant comments, to wit:

We’ve become accustomed to memoirs of mental illness in recent years, as the public’s appetite for bleak and ungodly first-person narratives has increased, and as much of the stigma attached to these conditions has fallen away. Which is another way of saying that books of this sort don’t have the revelatory power they once did.

We suppose that the reviewer has never had to navigate the maelstrom himself. Nevertheless, we are not deterred. We look forward to reading this likely powerful revelation, at least as received by similarly situated family members.

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One Response to Henry’s Demons

  1. Randye Kaye says:

    I just blogged about this book, and ordered it on Amazon. I’ve followed Patrick Cockburn’s writings about his son, and am so impressed with his insight while heartbreakingly empathetic re his family’s struggle.

    I, too, work in the media: United States radio.
    I, too, lost my brilliant and charming young son inside the maze of schizophrenia itself as well as the system surrounding the illness.
    Our family, too, has gone through the 9 stages of acceptance, from confusion and desperation to, at long last, acceptance and hope.
    Our story, from across the Atlantic, will be published this summer by Rowman and Littlefield. Its title? Ben Behind His Voices:One Family’s Journey from the chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope.
    We hope to be a beacon of hope, as well a realistic view of what families go through when mental illness strikes. One out of four families deals with mental illness. 1 in 100 people, internationally, have scizophrenia. It’s time for understanding, respect, more research, and the end of stigma.
    I applaud the Cockburns and my family’s heart goes out to theirs.
    Randye Kaye, author “Ben Behind His Voices”

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