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Because I Come from a Crazy Family: The Making of a Psychiatrist Hardcover – June 12, 2018
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"Psychiatrist Hallowell (Driven to Distraction) handily illustrates in this entertaining memoir the adage that people go into psychiatry because they want to understand themselves and their families . . . Hallowell is earnest in his assessments about his search for his life’s calling." - Publisher's Weekly
"Hallowell’s memoir unfolds in a humorous manner that entertains and enlightens." - Booklist
"Hallowell's many followers will seek out this account. Those unfamiliar with his work will find much to appreciate and absorb in his clear-eyed retelling of a life path that easily could have gone a different way." - Library Journal
"Rarely does enlightenment about the complexities of brain, mind, and heart meet such empathy . . . This is a book you won’t want to end, since early in the course of it you’ll wish you’d known Hallowell throughout his life. But when you finish it, you’ll feel you have." - Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D., University Professor, Harvard Medical School, co-founder, Partners In Health
"We are all the products of our families--and all as crazy as they are. So the real power of this great book? Proving that none of us is alone. Powerful, harrowing, and outrageously reassuring!" - Brad Meltzer, bestselling author of THE ESCAPE ARTIST
"Poignant, unexpectedly funny, and a brilliant read, this book is thoroughly relatable for anyone who has loved a complex person, worked to learn life lessons, and tried make the world a better place. In short, all of us." - Ken Duckworth M.D., Medical Director, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
"Dr. Edward M. Hallowell has done more than any other physician and author to help us understand the creative, complex and challenging inner worlds of children and adults with ADHD. Now, in Because I Come from a Crazy Family, he grants us access to his own life and mind with his signature warmth, humor and insight. Moving, inspiring, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, his memoir will bring enormous pleasure and relief to anyone with a "crazy" family--that is to say, to absolutely everyone." - Judith Warner, author of PERFECT MADNESS
"It's one thing to turn the hardships you face into fuel for doing good for others. But it's quite another, even braver thing to reveal details about those hardships publicly. Ned Hallowell has written a brave and illuminating book about overcoming odds." - Ann Curry
"A very readable, highly informative and helpful book." - The New York Times Book Review on DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION
"The first comprehensive book on the subject for the lay reader." - The Boston Globe on DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION
"Clear-sighted wisdom . . . Those in search of practical, concrete advice for creating and saving marriages will find what they need." - Publishers Weekly on MARRIED TO DISTRACTION
About the Author
Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., is the bestselling author of Driven to Distraction and many other acclaimed books, a leading authority in the field of ADHD, a world-renowned speaker, the host of the podcast Distraction, and the founder of the Hallowell Centers for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Boston MetroWest, New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. He lives in Arlington, Massachusetts. www.drhallowell.com
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As a loyal reader of his books about adhd and anxiety, I assumed Dr Hallowell grew up simple and easy with tons of security. No. Not even close. As intelligent and goodhearted the family has been, there lied mental health struggles, learning disability, divorce, the difficult transition from military to civilian life and other unpredictable incidents. Yet out of bitter and sweet memories the author turned out to be a passionate physicist with big heart, keeping his marriage strong and has a huge influence on breaking the stigma of mental disorders.
Thank you Dr Hallowell, for your resilience and willingness to help share the life story.
This memoir starts off tamely, without the outrageous anecdotes I've come to expect, thanks to The Glass Castle, Running with Scissors and others of that ilk. The craziest incident early on turns out to be (spoiler alert) the author's own conception during his father's escape from a mental institution! There's plenty of alcoholism, mental illness, upheaval and abuse in Hallowell's background, to be sure, but also lots of love and support within the extended family. I found myself wishing for fewer names and details and hoping the story would pick up a bit. Further along I became increasingly interested and engaged. As a psych major from Massachusetts just one year younger than Hallowell (born in 1950), I was fascinated by his professional quest to become a psychiatrist - my personal 'road not taken.' Hallowell's empathy and respect toward the institutionalized, often indigent mental patients in his charge were admirable, as was his willingness to put himself on the line, bending rules to try innovative approaches that might help them. Anecdotes about patients - and many of the doctors - he encountered during his years of training are often hilarious but always infused with love, respect and the desire to get to know and understand them.
This book does not cover Hallowell's attention deficit work for which he is best known, but if you're interested in mental illness and the fields of psychology and psychiatry, I recommend this book. Dr. Edward Hallowell's compassion toward those often feared and despised by society is truly inspiring.
I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
A fun and engaging storyteller, we learn a great deal about Hallowell’s less than ordinary happy family that originated in Chatham, MA. After returning stateside from military service in WWII, his father was admitted to Trenton State, Baldpate and the VA for psychiatric care, his parent’s eventually divorced. Uncle Unger became his stepfather, a southern gentleman, who promptly relocated the family to Charleston S.C. Hallowell, who was nicknamed “Ned” was surprised that his mother and Uncle Unger drank so much gin, bourbon and Manhattans, and tried to hide-out in his room. Uncle Unger would take him as his “navigator” on 120 mph. late night drives in his new Thunderbird, and Ned became frightened over his irrational anger and temper. Ned was relieved when his grandmother agreed to pay for him to attend the Fessenden School. Next, Hallowell would attend Exeter, and graduated from Harvard University magna-cum-laude.
Despite his high GPA, testing scores and excellent letters of recommendation, Hallowell did not gain admission to med school without working first as a research assistant. Eventually he was admitted to med school at Tulane University in New Orleans. Hallowell lived in a tiny apartment. In addition to studies in anatomy and physiology, he learned a great deal from his patients and the colorful customs and culture-- his experience there would inspire him to specialize in child psychiatry when he returned to (MMHC) Massachusetts Mental Health Center.
The second half of the book is better and highly interesting. Hallowell shares with readers his experience of deciding to enter psychoanalysis, his decision to literally jump out a nearby window at a painfully boring psychiatric conference. The best dialogue is between Hallowell and his favorite senior supervisor Dr. Doris Mezner Benaron, a chain smoking Swiss Jewish psychoanalyst that didn’t believe in God due to the Holocaust. Hallowell’s lengthy educational dialogue with Dr. Benaron is worth the price of the book; there are more serious levels to the book due to his psychiatric training, though Hallowell always tells his story in an easy going lighthearted manner readers will appreciate. **With thanks and appreciation to Bloomsbury Publishing via NetGalley for the DDC for the purpose of review.