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January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her Hardcover – August 7, 2012
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“Imagine invisible demons that attack your beautiful child. But this is no nightmare, and no supernatural fantasy. The demons are real, and they come from inside her own mind. The story of January Schofield, diagnosed at six with childhood schizophrenia. is told by her father, Michael, with a father's tenderness, a novelist's consciousness, and a knight's grace. We can hold our breath and pray, but not look away. This modern parable may be the most compelling book you will ever read.” --Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean
“January First is a riveting and compelling-and also quite painful--story of a father’s efforts to help his young daughter find a place for herself in this world in the face of a serious mental illness. Schofield gives a glimpse inside the mind of a child who lives much of her life in another world, interacting with "friends" who are only in her mind. Schofield takes us on his journey with Jani, starting with his thoughts that Jani is simply a misunderstood genius to recognition that something is really wrong, to the ultimate diagnosis of schizophrenia, a very serious mental illness, even more so when it manifests in a child. Schofield and his wife never give up. Their dedication and steadfastness are inspirational. Their story will be highly valued by the many families with a child with mental illness-indeed, by the many families who have any kind of struggle with their kids. The book ends on a hopeful note with Jani in a better place, yet we recognize that the battle is likely not over.” – Elyn Saks, MacArthur Grant Recipient and author of The Center Cannot Hold
"In his memoirs 'January First,' Michael Schofield chronicles his family's experience with [a] devastating mental illness, which usually presents itself at least a decade later." --Daily Mail (UK)
"An unflinching portrait of the scourge of mental illness." --Kirkus Reviews
"In this dramatic memoir, Schofield...explains the mental illness of his young daughter...offers valuable insight for others in similar situations, and ends on a hopeful note." --Publishers Weekly
About the Author
MICHAEL SCHOFIELD teaches writing courses at California State University, Northridge. He keeps a blog of his family's journey through Janni's schizophrenia at www.janisjourney.org.
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While this was a fascinating insight into a most misunderstood and stigmatised illness, I found it a little repetitive (I agree with another reviewer that the constant reference to Janni's supposed "genius" was incredibly irritating). I also felt that it ended too abruptly, with a statement that Janni was doing better but without letting us know in any depth how the real child was beginning to emerge with the help of medication.
I applaud the family because in continuing to love Janni and strive to keep the family intact, they have achieved a miracle that few others would be capable of.