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Detour from Normal Paperback – December 12, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 219 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ken Dickson lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Beth, four lovable dogs, a rescue rat (who in a former life survived being fed to a python), and a goldfish saved from certain death after a college research project. He has two daughters attending college who never cease to amaze him. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (December 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1491248637
  • ISBN-13: 978-1491248638
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter Marlow on January 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rarely do I read a book from start to finish without putting it down. This is one of those books. Very well written and wholly engaging, it took me on a surreal and yet easily understandable journey though the mind and experiences of someone marginalized by society as insane. That he is able to describe with such incredible attention to detail his delusions and how he was made to suffer so much cruelty and injustice at the hands of those we trust with our lives, including medical doctors, peace officers, guards, emergency medical technicians, nurses, psychiatrists, lawyers and even a judge, is amazing. What a great book!

It is sad how so much of our society is prejudiced against the mentally ill, regarding them as unthinking and unfeeling, and therefore undeserving of any compassion. The author does a great service to us all by correcting this misunderstanding. With this book, he has not only prepared me for what may be my experience should something similar happen to me, he has also taught me how to show more patience and love towards those who suffer as he did. His book has the power to make the world a better place. It should be required reading for all those who are preparing themselves for any type of work involving the mentally ill.

By the time readers finish this book, they will understand themselves better and learn to get more out of life, regardless of where they fall on the scale of fully sane (is anyone fully sane?) to insane. If they have friends or family members who are mentally ill, they will love them more and have more joy in their relationships with them. If they work with the mentally ill, their work will take on a whole new meaning; it will be more fulfilling and more satisfying.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I met Ken and his wife recently when he purchased my used van. He seemed like a normal very intelligent guy. When he told me his story, I could not connect the man with what he was telling me. Having had a tonsillectomy gone bad myself from which I almost died at the age of 30, and subsequent health problems for which I have seen 34 different health care professionals just since 2007 with little positive results, I had to read this book. For someone who had never authored a book, Ken's story is very well told, and a real eye-opener to the practice ( an appropriate word) of modern medicine. Pharmaceutical companies push their products in numerous ways to providers and patients with more regard for their bottom line than the patients welfare. The FDA is staffed by former and future pharmaceutical employees, so the fix is in with respect to new drugs until horror stories like Ken's become common. As one author of a book I read says, " How many parts do you have to remove to make a healthy person?" I believe the same could be said for the use of prescription drugs in this country. This book is a clear wakeup call as to what can happen when any patient is subjected to botched surgery, ingested with numerous drugs, and run through a mental health system that cares little for his/her welfare. As Ken himself told me, without his wife, Beth, acting as his advocate, he likely would not be here to tell it.
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Format: Paperback
I heard about this book from the author's friend and work colleague, who described to me the dramatic personality change Ken displayed after surgery, his subsequent "treatment" in mental health hospitals, and his ultimate recovery. I was intrigued by the story, and so I was excited to find that Ken had written a book about the experience. Ken tells his story in a very personal manner, describing both the range of his emotions at the time and the details of his environment...the book is very engaging. I was fortunate to have recently heard Ken and wife, Beth, speak to my Book Club about this "Detour from Normal," plus the cathartic process of writing this book in the hopes of increasing awareness of the potential issues facing post-operative patients and the shortcomings of the mental health care system. It was hard to equate to well-spoken man facing our Book Club with the manic individual described in the book...but that is what makes this true story more remarkable.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Ken Dickson, like many other men, ignored warning signs from his body. He kept on working until his body threw him down in pain. After major surgery on his intestines, he thought he'd pick right back where he left his life. Not a chance. The drugs used during and after the surgery triggered manic episodes. He spent the next years in and out of mental wards

His memoir reads like both fiction and philosophy. He had his wife's journals of their reactions to his aberrant behavior, which he incorporates throughout the memoir. At the same time, he has vivid recall of the people he interacted with at the hospitals, both staff and patients. Some of the patients seem saner than their keepers.

The action in the chapters moves quickly between episodes of despair and episodes of Transcendental philosophy about creating a new Utopia. Ken in the midst of his mental issues considers how negative feelings and emotions trigger negative responses in others. He watches for others to join his way of life in the effort of true listening and empathy.

It is obvious from this book that Ken knows the system. He survived the cuckoo's nest though his success came from self-analysis rather than the input of caring physicians.
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