Is There No Place on Earth for Me?

Is There No Place on Earth for Me?

Book - 2014
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This renowned journalist's classic Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of schizophrenia--now reissued with a new postscript--follows a flamboyant and fiercely intelligent young woman as she struggles in the throes of mental illness.

"Sylvia Frumkin" was born in 1948 and began showing signs of schizophrenia in her teens. She spent the next seventeen years in and out of mental institutions. In 1978, reporter Susan Sheehan took an interest in her and, for more than two years, became immersed in her life: talking with her, listening to her monologues, sitting in on consultations with doctors--even, for a period, sleeping in the bed next to her in a psychiatric center. With Sheehan, we become witness to Sylvia's plight: her psychotic episodes, the medical struggle to control her symptoms, and the overburdened hospitals that, more often than not, she was obliged to call home. The resulting book, first published in 1982, was hailed as an extraordinary achievement: harrowing, humanizing, moving, and bitingly funny. Now, some two decades later, Is There No Place on Earth for Me? continues to set the standard for accounts of mental illness.

Publisher: New York :, Vintage Books, a division of Random House LLC,, 2014, ©2014.
Edition: Second Vintage Books edition.
ISBN: 9780804169189
Branch Call Number: 616. 89820924 FRU S 2014
Characteristics: xv, 358 pages ; 21 cm


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Aug 02, 2012

Sheehan won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction for this book in the early '80s. It is an extraordinary account of one year in one young woman's life. "Sylvia Frumkin" is in her thirties, and has suffered severe schizophrenia since her teens. Sheehan was given permission from Frumkin, her family, and the medical staff at a big mental hospital in New York City to spend this time with Ms. Frumkin. She talked to her, observed her, sat in on medical consultations & treatments, watched family dynamics, even slept in the bed next to her for some time. What emerges is what Robert Coles (who wrote a great introduction to the book) calls "a life which is hell on earth". Sheehan is observant and unsentimental, but the pain, confusion and frustration for Ms. Frumkin and others around her pours off these pages. Not an easy read but an important one - especially for those of us who have had the good luck not to have such suffering ourselves or in our immediate circle of loved ones.

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