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

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

Paperback

By (author) Michael Schofield

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  • Publisher: HARDIE GRANT BOOKS
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 211mm x 27mm | 372g
  • Publication date: 1 September 2012
  • Publication City/Country: South Yarra
  • ISBN 10: 1742705030
  • ISBN 13: 9781742705033
  • Sales rank: 25,100

Product description

A harrowing memoir from the father of a seven-year-old girl, January First is the desperate story of Michael's mission to find out what is wrong with his highly intelligent daughter. Right from when she was a newborn, January has kept her parents on their toes: as a baby she slept for only 20 minutes at a time, as a one year old she spoke in complete sentences, at two she asked about negative numbers, and by three had literally hundreds of imaginary friends. But when her brother Bodhi arrives her behaviour becomes increasingly violent, her never-ending delusions and hallucinations interspersed with paroxysms of rage that eventually force her parents to live in separate one-bedroom apartments - communicating with walkie-talkies to keep her brother safe. As her father does the rounds of child psychologists, doctors and locked hospital wards, he provides an unflinchingly honest account of parenting, as well as an indictment of the lack of care for children with severe mental illness. January First shows the passionate dedication of a father who refuses to give up on his little girl even as her behaviour becomes ever more alien. An eventual diagnosis is reached of one of the most severe cases of child-onset schizophrenia that doctors have ever seen: January is hallucinating 95 percent of the time that she is awake and potent psychiatric drugs that would level most adults barely faze her.

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Author information

Father of two Michael Schofield and his family have appeared on US television, including ABC News, the Discovery Health Network, and the Oprah Winfrey show. He lives in the Bay Area of California, where he teaches English at California State University, Northridge

Review quote

"Imagine invisible demons that attack your beautiful child. But this is no nightmare, and no supernatural fantasy. The demons are real, and they come from inside her own mind. The story of January Schofield, diagnosed at six with childhood schizophrenia. is told by her father, Michael, with a father's tenderness, a novelist's consciousness, and a knight's grace. We can hold our breath and pray, but not look away. This modern parable may be the most compelling book you will ever read." --Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of "The Deep End of the Ocean"""January First" is a riveting and compelling-and also quite painful--story of a father's efforts to help his young daughter find a place for herself in this world in the face of a serious mental illness. Schofield gives a glimpse inside the mind of a child who lives much of her life in another world, interacting with "friends" who are only in her mind. Schofield takes us on his journey with Jani, starting with his thoughts that Jani is simply a misunderstood genius to recognition that something is really wrong, to the ultimate diagnosis of schizophrenia, a very serious mental illness, even more so when it manifests in a child. Schofield and his wife never give up. Their dedication and steadfastness are inspirational. Their story will be highly valued by the many families with a child with mental illness-indeed, by the many families who have any kind of struggle with their kids. The book ends on a hopeful note with Jani in a better place, yet we recognize that the battle is likely not over." - Elyn Saks, MacArthur Grant Recipient and author of "The Center Cannot Hold""In his memoirs 'January First, ' Michael Schofield chronicles his family's experience with [a] devastating mental illness, which usually presents itself at least a decade later." --"Daily Mail" (UK) "January's story is one of redemption, of resilience, of a family coming together in spite of all to rally for a difficult, special girl."--"New