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Shot in the Head a Sister's Memoir, a Brother's Struggle Paperback – March 24, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Bridgeross Communications (March 24, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 192763721X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1927637210
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,370,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

What happens when you must look after a sibling who is seriously ill with schizophrenia?
Katherine Flannery Dering was born in Detroit, Michigan, second child of an auto executive and a stay-at-home mother who went on to have ten children altogether. The family moved from Detroit to Switzerland and then settled in a suburb of New York City when she was 14. She went to college in upstate New York and in 1976, was already married and living in Buffalo, when her younger brother Paul developed schizophrenia.

Ms Dering studied and taught Spanish briefly, but after earning an MBA, the author moved back to the New York City area and began a career in banking. After the death of their parents, she and the other siblings took over the care of their brother Paul.

Ms. Dering began writing in the 1990's, publishing poetry and essays in small journals. She turned her focus to her family's journey when Paul became ill with lung cancer.

The author states, "My younger brother Paul was more than a 'schizophrenic.' He was a brother, a son, and above all, a person that my eight siblings and I loved.  t wasn't until his care -- and his treatments for lung cancer -- started taking more and more of my attention that I realized his - and the family's - story demanded to be written. Family members know that it is emotionally complex and challenging to care for someone with a serious mental illness. And when this many siblings are involved, the situation is unique."

Shot in the Head is the author's first published book. She has several projects underway, including a mystery novel and a book of poetry and hopes to return to her non fiction book about women in business in the near future.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Beautifully written book about a very sad story.
caray
Very well written , delves into a family dealing with a loved one afflicted with a serious mental illness .
Bryan Jones
I read it in two sittings and keep going back to it in my thoughts.
Monica Leggett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Monica Leggett on May 20, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As one of the sisters of the author, I'd like to share why I think Katherine has written such a great book. The best descriptive words are heart-warming, universal, honest, and really well written!

It's heart warming- Katherine shares some of her most personal thoughts and feelings that allow the reader to empathize with her experience. We live through her childhood experiences as well as some key adult transitions, which allows us to know so much about Katherine and her family. I even learned some new things about our family since I am 10 years younger and missed the early years! I'm reminded of a few other memoirs like Eat, Pray, Love or Angela's Ashes, where the author is struggling through difficult life decisions or transitions and we are able to relate to the author as if we are there living through the struggles as well.

The general theme is universal- many families have made sacrifices in order to support someone struggling with mental illness or end-of-life decisions and situations. This book deals with both. Our family happened to falter at some points and rally at others. We went from little communication to constant communication. I think Katherine shared what worked and didn't work in a way that others will learn from.

Katherine is so honest about her thoughts and feelings. Most people will relate to the difficult balance between trying to keep life on an even keel, maybe even ignoring that there's anything to worry about, and stepping in to rescue or help a sick relative. What would we do in that situation? How might we have handled it differently? Mental illness is one of the most feared and stress-inducing diagnosis a person can have, sometimes even more so for the family caregivers.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Prol on September 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that when you finish, you don't want to read anything for a few days. The story just sticks there and keeps your emotions going.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that destroys the life of the sick person. Each family member must find their own way to deal with the heartbreak of seeing someone they love go from happy and loving, to a dark world of delusions. It leaves their families struggling to make sense of the insane mental health system, and the continuous attempt to normalize the life of someone living inside a delusion.

Dering's style of writing keeps the story moving, while providing many contrasts and insights about schizophrenia and the human emotions that are challenged in adult siblings of the ill person. Her story masterfully presented the inevitable chasms this illness causes in a family, without judging anyone. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a family member or friend who struggles with mental illness. You'll know you're not alone, and your experience isn't unique. For anyone else, it's a well-crafted story that won't disappoint.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mary Murphy on September 1, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Such a special book. For anyone who has a loved one with schizophrenia it is a must read. Coming from a large Irish Catholic family, I could relate to so many similarities. Will also help in seeing how another family lives with a son/ brother with schizophrenia. Even at the funeral for Paul..the same thing happened in my family. My brother Tom was cremated and his ashes flown up from Florida to be placed in the same cemetery where the rest of the family is and will be buried. At the gravesite, the priest starting speaking and my mother said why is he starting to speak, Tommy isn't even here yet. My youngest brother says "Ma, he is in that thing that looks like a cake box". Tom was her first "cremation". God, I love my little brother. This book will stay with you for a long time. I support Congressman Tim Murphy's HR 3717. My son Tom Murphy has paranoid schizophrenia. My 92 year old mother says "it's a sign". I hope and pray she is right. Thank you Katherine for writing this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
With intimate detail, this well-written memoir outlines a family’s struggle to create a comfortable life for the author’s younger brother. A dramatic story, “Shot in the Head” draws the reader into the author’s life, as she explains her father’s withdrawal, her mother’s determination and her siblings banding together with her, in response to the schizophrenia that captured Paul.
As he struggled with demons that attacked without notice or provocation, Paul’s battle became Ms. Dering’s battle, and she fought alongside him, as best she was able.

Overall, a tragic tale of the effects mental illness, there are high points and positives throughout the telling. For those familiar with schizophrenia, it is an account with which many will likely identify. For those unfamiliar, it is a story that will enlighten. In either case, it is a narrative that will not soon be forgotten.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Randye on April 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
When mental illness happens, it affects the whole family. Much has been written about the effect on parents, but not enough about the grief - and importance - of siblings. You will fall in love with the Flannery clan, who stepped up to support their brother Paul throughout his sad journey with schizophrenia. This book takes you through the frustration, the loss, the mistakes and wishful thinking - and, ultimately the love and support that shines through it all - as the family struggles to understand the illness and the system, stay together, and also show Paul how much he is loved - all while trying to focus on their own lives as well. This is a readable and important book that will open the reader's eyes to the effects of schizophrenia, the need for change, and the power of family love.
Randye Kaye, author Ben Behind His Voices
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