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Is There No Place on Earth for Me? by Susan…

Is There No Place on Earth for Me?

by Susan Sheehan

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Interesting story. Although it is a bit dry and clinical in places, the story is sometimes humerous and Sylvia says some pretty funny things. It is amazing what was done to her in the name of psychiatry. ( )
  Rob.Larson | Aug 5, 2011 |
This is the fascinating and moving story of Sylvia Frumkin (not her real name), a young woman who is schizophrenic. Sheehan tells the whole story of her life but focuses on her post-teenage years, in which she was in and out of various psychiatric hospitals. Some of the story comes from records and interviews, but Sheehan also spent a year with Sylvia. The story is told in a bare, reportorial manner, with very little editorializing; Sheehan doesn't offer excuses for Sylvia or her family, nor does she comment directly on the mental health system and doctors who can't seem to get Sylvia's treatment right. That style makes the story very powerful: it's just the terrible facts about living life with schizophrenia. Sylvia only has short periods of quasi-normalcy. Most of the time she's in a psychotic episode and impossible to live with. She spends a lot of time in Creedmoor, the state hospital, where she is treated by well-meaning but overworked and somewhat incompetent doctors and therefore never gets better for any sustained length of time. It seems as though Sylvia knows that something is wrong with her, but she can't stop her slides back into psychosis, any more than someone could stop a heart attack. And while her family and doctors could have done a better job, at the same time, it's hard to imagine having to deal with her behavior. It's a sad situation, but Sheehan doesn't present it in a melodramatic, tear-jerking kind of way; it's just reality. ( )
1 vote carlym | Feb 5, 2011 |
When I found this book at the library in 2009, I wasn't expecting anything miraculous or amazing. I had tried to read books on schizophrenia and schizophrenics before, and had been sorely disappointed. What I found surprised me.

Susan Sheehan's tale of the life of one schizophrenic woman in a New York psychiatric hospital is enlightening and heart-breaking. It was amazing. The beauty of the book is that Sheehan seems to be the only person who doesn't judge Sylvia Frumkin (real name: Maxine Mason). Frumkin's decent into madness is chronicled as well in the book as you would imagine it being captured in a film documentary.

It is colorful. It is beautiful. It is probably the most wonderful book that most people have never heard of. ( )
  janersm | Jan 8, 2011 |
This is a difficult book to read. It's filled with a lot of back history of the mental health system in New Jersey in the late 70's. On the other hand, Sheehan tells a truely sad story of a woman suffering from schizophrenia being shuttled from hosptial to hospital, doctor to doctor, medicine to medicine with no one knowing exactly how to help her. The book is a remarkable expose of how uncaring the health industry, and the world at large, is towards treating and caring for mentally ill people. ( )
  cbertz | May 7, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394713788, Paperback)

" A brilliantly documented chronicle of young woman's long struggle with schizophrenia."

-- Willard Gaylin, The New Republic

"Sylvia Frumkin," highly intelligent young girl, became a schizophrenic in her late teens and spent most of the next seventeen years in anti out of mental institutions. Susan Sheehan, a talented reporter followed "Sylvia" for almost a year talking with and observing her listening to her monologues, sitting in on consultations with doctors, even for a period sleeping in the bed next to her in a mental hospital.

"Susan Sheehan has committed an extraordinary act of journalism....She brings relentless intelligent attention to bear on a particular case, a journalistic practice that almost always results in new and disturbing insights into those mindless generalities and prejudice and certitudes we tend to carry around with us." -- Meg Greenfield, front page Washington Post Book World

"Sheehan is tenacious, observant and unsentimental. The history of a single patient leads us into a maze of understaffed institutions, bureaucratic fumbling, trial-and-error treatment and familial incomprehension. Though Sheehan keeps herself invisible, her sympathy is palpable."

-- Walter Clemons, Newsweek

By the author of Lift for Me Ain't Been No Crystal Stair

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:47 -0400)

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