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Acquainted with the Night: A Parent's Quest…

Acquainted with the Night: A Parent's Quest to Understand Depression and…

by Paul Raeburn

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I was shocked and amazed at this memoir. The author writes about his family's problems with mental illness, alcoholism, and anger issues as if her were writing about people on another continent. He is so detached from the experience, as well as from himself. I couldn't believe that he could write about his controlling nature and anger problems without acknowledging them to himself or the reader. I felt like he was trying to pull one over on the reader, make himself appear to be above his family's troubles, or at least an innocent bystander, rather than a cause of the problems. I would not recommend this to someone who was seriously interested in a parent's honest exploration of their own children's mental illness. I would recommend this to someone who wants to read about a narcissistic, self centered individual's refusal to recognize how his treatment of his family has affected them! ( )
1 vote kmoellering | May 9, 2008 |
And now a book by a better journalist (I read this right after "Blindsided," by Richard Cohen, which I hated) about his two kids who both got bipolar disorder in 7th grade. In both of these books the author/father was a frighteningly angry person. This book is admirable in how openly he admits it. ( )
  bobbieharv | Mar 17, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0767914384, Paperback)

In the space of a few months, 11-year-old Alex Raeburn is bounced among seven psychiatrists and prescribed even more drugs, among them Lithium and Depakote, after lashing out at his 5th-grade teacher. The doctors are swift to prescribe pills but slow to provide therapy, despite varying opinions on what the diagnosis may be--maybe depression, ADHD, or an anxiety disorder. While the family finds little relief from the medical establishment, author Paul Raeburn, Alex's dad, slowly admits that his lack of parenting and anger-management skills may have exacerbated his son's condition. Some of his temper tantrums, one of which involves flooding their kitchen, are as frightening as his son's manic episodes.

Ironically, as the science and medicine reporter for BusinessWeek, Raeburn had access to the most prestigious names in psychiatry, but his denial of Alex's emotional problems was so strong that he didn't even bother to look up the (significant) side effects of his son's prescriptions in the Physician's Desk Reference: "I was not going to read about psychiatric drugs and mental illness because I was not going to be the parent of a mentally ill kid." He and Alex are given hope from bipolar expert Kay Redfield Jamison, who, during a book signing, writes, "Things will get better." They do, but not before the Raeburns' marriage disintegrates and Alex's younger sister Alicia is also repeatedly hospitalized for depression and attempted suicide. Raeburn's bravery in telling his childrens' story is to be commended, but the reader is left wondering just how much of Alex and Alicia's misery can be blamed on his own moodiness, prejudices, and procrastination. --Erica Jorgensen

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:21 -0400)

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