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Playing the Genetic Lottery by Terri Morgan
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Playing the Genetic Lottery (edition 2011)

by Terri Morgan

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
541,436,638 (3.75)None
Allizabeth's review
Description:

Eighteen years ago, Ava changed her name and fled from her Schizophrenic parents, intent on escaping the disease. Now thirty-two and called "Caitlin", she works as a pediatric nurse, is married to her best friend, and has two amazing children; but her past constantly lingers in her mind - Will she become like her parents? Has she passed this disease onto her children? What the future holds for her family all depends on the "genetic lottery"...

Review:

I don't have as much experience with people suffering from Schizophrenia as I do with Bipolar disorder, so I thought that Playing the Genetic Lottery could help me understand more about the disease - it was an eye opener. I appreciate that Schizophrenia is explained in layman's terms, and that Terri Morgan's depictions of the disorder are realistic as well as haunting. The characters speak to the reader immediately, and it is hard not to sympathize with their situation and their fears. The story-line is well-written, albeit a few chapters too long, but the story as a whole is true-to-life and full of emotion. I finish this book knowing much more than I did about a neurological disorder that effects the individual as well as everyone around them; most commonly the family. I understand how some of the characters feel about the disease and the fear of not knowing what the future holds. I recommend this book to readers interested in a realistic portrayal of Schizophrenia and characters that will stay with them well past the final pages.

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. ( )
  Allizabeth | Mar 23, 2012 |
All member reviews
Showing 4 of 4
This review has been crossposted from my blog at The Cosy Dragon . Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me, which appear on a timely schedule.

I almost want to call this book a memoir, but it isn't - this is fiction and comes with an appropriate selection of questions for if this novel was read by a book club. It's in the genre I've been reading lately, and it was super enjoyable, if somewhat thought provoking and painful at times.

I read this novel in one sitting, and although I couldn't say it was gripping in the same way as an action packed fantasy novel, I could really feel the characters and their interactions and kept reading for that reason.

This is another handy novel in the mental health interest group. This one covers schizophrenia, depression and post-natal depression. Of those, the schizophrenia is the worst, and Caitlin and Jon spend all their time in fear that they might get that horrific disorder next.

Something I found super interesting was the research that the author has done (or perhaps has personal experience with) into the way schizophrenia treatment has changed over the years. The concept of half-way houses is also an interesting one. The point that could have made it even more relevant for me would have been if it was set in Australia, but that's a far hope.

Four stars from me. Sorry for my horrifically short review - I will try update it when I actually have some energy within the next couple of days, but no promises. ( )
  Rosemarie.Herbert | Feb 14, 2013 |
Description:

Eighteen years ago, Ava changed her name and fled from her Schizophrenic parents, intent on escaping the disease. Now thirty-two and called "Caitlin", she works as a pediatric nurse, is married to her best friend, and has two amazing children; but her past constantly lingers in her mind - Will she become like her parents? Has she passed this disease onto her children? What the future holds for her family all depends on the "genetic lottery"...

Review:

I don't have as much experience with people suffering from Schizophrenia as I do with Bipolar disorder, so I thought that Playing the Genetic Lottery could help me understand more about the disease - it was an eye opener. I appreciate that Schizophrenia is explained in layman's terms, and that Terri Morgan's depictions of the disorder are realistic as well as haunting. The characters speak to the reader immediately, and it is hard not to sympathize with their situation and their fears. The story-line is well-written, albeit a few chapters too long, but the story as a whole is true-to-life and full of emotion. I finish this book knowing much more than I did about a neurological disorder that effects the individual as well as everyone around them; most commonly the family. I understand how some of the characters feel about the disease and the fear of not knowing what the future holds. I recommend this book to readers interested in a realistic portrayal of Schizophrenia and characters that will stay with them well past the final pages.

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. ( )
  Allizabeth | Mar 23, 2012 |
Is it going to happen to me, just like my parents? Will I turn into a schizophrenic? Will my children? That is what Ava and Jon had to worry about their entire childhood. They couldn't live a normal childhood because of their parents' illness.

The author did a great job explaining the disease and made the scenes in the book real. Learning how awful this disease is and how it ruins families and robs children of their childhood and adults of their lives was enlightening and frightening.

You will fall in love with Ava, the narrator, who changes her name to Caitlin when she turns fifteen. She is such a strong character and tries to act normal when she knows nothing is normal at home. Her brother Jon was her protector and confidant throughout their childhood trauma. Things didn't turn out the way they wanted it to for them as the years passed, though. Jon was also a very strong character and made you wonder how children do make it through when their parents are ill. Thank goodness for Ava and Jon that their grandparents were there for them.

The book gives a lot of information about the devastating disease and is put in laymen's terms through the story told by Ava/Caitlin. You will feel Ava's frustrations dealing with their unsettled, bizarre childhood and sympathize with her and her brother even though Ava was left alone after awhile to deal with it all.

It isn’t a gripping story with an outstanding plot but more of a saga of the Swarthout family. The grandparents were wonderful. It did get a little tiresome going on and on, and I was actually glad when it came to the last pages. It seemed a little too long, but it was a very well-written book with a lot of information about mental diseases. I enjoyed the book for the most part.

3.5/5 because of the length….it could have been shorter and not include as much dialogue. ( )
  meadowmist | Feb 4, 2012 |
MY REVIEW
I wasn't sure what I expected from this book when I began reading,it had crossed my mind it may be quite a depressing read. However I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a tale of mental illness and what affect it has on those who suffer from it and those who live with the sufferers too. I found myself smiling, laughing, sighing, and yes at a couple of points sobbing! There is a fair share of sadness and death in the book, but there are also uplifting parts that show how Caitlin learnt to cope with her relationships with those around her.
Caitlin endures a rather sad, disjointed upbringing where really her "parent" or the person she looks up to is her brother Jon, or Jondalor as their mother calls him. Their mother lives in her own fantasy world at times and thats where her childrens names come from, a fantasy book. Caitlin is originally called Ayla who is a female character in her mothers favourite book by Jean Auel. Her brother rescues her from this name as when she is born he cannot say Ayla and ends up calling her Ava.
When Ava "escapes" in her late teen years she changes her name to Caitlin, in her mind, its a fresh name to go with the fresh start she is trying to make. Caitlin goes through a lot of torment in her life, and all the while wondering if one day she may succumb to the same illness that has claimed those surrounding her.
Caitlin does have some great supportive family....I am not going to go into the story as I think you need to read and discover what happens and how and why things happen for yourselves as the readers.
Did I enjoy the book? Yes, it could have been a totally true life tale. Would I recommend it? Yes, its a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Would I read more by this Author? Yes, this was so well written, I couldn't wait to pick it up and read the next part of it. ( )
  Sanz71 | Feb 1, 2012 |
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