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Nobody's Child Hardcover – March, 1991


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 4 pages
  • Publisher: Perseus Books (March 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201570734
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201570731
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,475,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Balter's unusual life story, told in collaboration with anthropologist-psychologist Katz, traces the self-healing of a woman who spent nearly 20 years in the Massachusetts mental hospital she entered at age 17. A chaotic upbringing by strict adoptive parents, depression and multiple misdiagnoses are some of the elements that contributed to Balter's institutionalization. Now a mental-health professional, she describes in heart-wrenching detail her gradual and ongoing emergence from psychosis, through the love and respect of others and herself. She tells of her admission to college after leaving the hospital, of a happy marriage ended by her husband's death and of graduate study at Harvard. Generous with praise and forgiveness, Balter (whose story was the subject of a TV movie) exemplifies the power of courage, hope and spiritual commitment.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Marie Balter, M.Ed. is a writer, lecturer, and advocate for the mentally ill. She is the winner of America’s Award, “the ordinary person’s Medal of Honor.” Richard Katz, Ph.D. clinical psychologist and anthropologist, is the author of Boiling Energy: Community Healing among the Kalahari Kung. He teaches full time at Saskatchewan Indian Federated College in Canada, and at Harvard Medical School.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amelia on October 30, 2003
Format: Paperback
Nobody's Child is a powerful and extremely engaging nonfiction novel. It focuses on the life of Marie Balter, a rigorously troubled woman. Marie begins her life as an adopted child and shortly after becomes mentally ill. She spent the first twenty years of her life traveling from mental institution to mental institution. The novel focuses on her experiences while being hospitalized. It is powerful and bleak, but at the same time, it is also an encouraging and uplifting story. Marie later goes on to recover and earn her Master's degree from Harvard University.
The book features black and white images of Marie's adoptive family, herself, and some of the hospitals in which she had stayed.
It was a very grim awakening for me, and I wouldn't recommend the book to everyone. Those who enjoyed books such as Prozac Nation and Girl, Interrupted would enjoy this captivating novel.
In 1986 Marlo Thomas went on to star as Marie Balter in a made-for-television movie, also titled Nobody's Child.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
I love how Marie describes her struggles with mental illness and how she finds the strength within herself to overcome her problems. She does this without blaming or resenting the people in her life who mistreated her, like her parents and the people in the hospital. She gives hope for the hopeless.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Marie Balter is an example for all who have mental illnesses. She was able to pick herself up with the support of friends and faith in herself and in God. Buy it for the ones who really need to hear that all is not lost, that they can survive and thrive even with a mental illness.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Lux on July 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
Marie Balter's 1987 memoir tells the story of a life spent in mental institutions. At age 17, an indigent, directionless, orphaned Marie entered a mental hospital that would become her home for the next 20 years, save for a few brief periods on the outside. The story, co-authored with psychologist Richard Katz, is told from a childlike perspective. The 20-year-old Marie is no more self-aware than a child, and certainly no more fit for the world. She likes the routine of the hospital, enjoys helping the staff in exchange for cigarettes, but makes progress sporadically. During her tenure at the Castle in the 1950's and 1960's, she was subjected to experimental drug treatments before finding her way, finishing high school and college, getting a job, and preparing for graduate school.

Balter doesn't consider those 20 years to be "lost," and now uses her experiences as a guest lecturer on the subject of treatment for the mentally ill. Balter's memoir is an excellent counterpoint to Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted, which is a short memoir about that author's 1967 stay in a mental hospital in the greater Boston area (Balter, too, is from the area).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ann Marie on September 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
After reading Marie's encounters, it gave hope to all MI. Coming from a family with MI and working with MI population, it reminded me of the purpose of my life's work. I think that the depiction of the struggle was accurate and can provide insight for family members of the MI. I recommended this book to a friend and she finished it in less than a week and had a hard time putting it down. It is a must read!
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Format: Paperback
Libby Fisher Hellmann is a pro. Her lastest offering, "Nobody's Child" is a taut, tightly woven mystery, with plenty of tension to take the reader through this entertaining and easy to read thriller. Her prose is economical, while at the same time stylish. Her heroine, Georgia Davis is both hot and human - someone to like and lust after. She's the head-turner in this page-turner. This is the second Hellmann novel I've read and neither disappointed. I first read "Set The Night on Fire," because it emanated from the 1960s, a decade I find fascinating. I think this review turned into a two-for. I would recommend both books... highly.
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