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January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 432 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An unflinching portrait of the scourge of mental illness." ---Kirkus

About the Author

Michael Schofield is the author of January First: A Child's Descent into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her and the cofounder, with his wife, Susan, of the Jani Foundation.

Patrick Lawlor has recorded over three hundred audiobooks in just about every genre. He has been an Audie Award finalist multiple times and has garnered several AudioFile Earphones Awards, a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award, and many Library Journal and Kirkus starred audio reviews.
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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452654794
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452654799
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (432 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,098,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I wanted to like this book. I truly did. After seeing a documentary about Jani, the daily struggles of a schizophrenic child piqued my interest. But, sadly, the father's ego and sense of entitlement got in the way of her story. His self-aggrandizing position of superiority above those around him and dozens of inconsistencies in his actions proved to be too much to stomach:

His description of his daughter is akin to viewing her as a science experiment, and yet he seems truly amazed that despite her "genius" she wants to be a normal child. It's sad that I know Jani's IQ (stated ad nauseum throughout the book, to the point of embarrassment) but not HER hopes and dreams. My heart goes out to poor Jani. While Mr. Schofield clearly loves her, he has yet to realize that gifted intelligence is by no means unique to his daughter.

Jani's aggression is well-documented throughout the book, yet consistent discipline is presented as a `novel' concept towards the end of the book, only after a therapist suggested they not give in to a five year old's demands. Seriously? One might question whether some of her behavioral issues could have been curtailed with parenting 101 - don't negotiate with a toddler.

The family insists on keeping a dog, despite repeated attempts by Jani to harm or attack the poor animal. Worse, the father and mother at various points in the story feel compelled to include Jani on walks and during play.

The father describes ongoing beatings, but as a teacher at a local college, makes no mention of whether inevitable bruising from such forceful blows would cause others to raise questions. Seems odd that bloody lips, scratches, and kicks wouldn't be noticed.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting story that might have been more effectively told if the author could have reigned in his ego. He seems to have some of the same problems from which his poor daughter suffers--excessive anger, the insistence on turning every exchange with other people into a power struggle and chronic impulsivity. While I felt great sympathy for the parents and have no doubt their daughter has some form of mental illness or disability for which there are few services, he was so unsympathetic that it diminished the book's impact. The topper was when he called his father to ask if there was any mental illness in his family and then later reveals he was hospitalized for explosive anger and fire-setting as a youth. Did he forget that little detail? He seemed to identify with his daughter to an unhealthy degree and blame his wife when she was not willing to sacrifice everything and everyone to make Jani happy for the moment. He seemed more like a pal than a parent at times. Perhaps a professional writer would have been more objective. Use of the present tense made me feel I was trapped in the father's angry head for the whole book and I wondered if some of the episodes were exaggerated a bit. Not a great reading experience.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had great expectations of this book having read and seen advance publicity promoting it. I've also taken the time to check out some videos of this child. I work in the field so I'm not unfamiliar with the subject matter.
If the father intended to sound opinionated and arrogant he succeeded spectacularly. Initially I felt sympathy for his wife but that was short lived. Both these parents have contributed to this child's dysfunction. It's evident in early videos that the parents were perpetuating the 'imaginary friends' scenario. Dad's 'playing along' with these imaginary friends has ensured their continued existence.The child presents on the autistic spectrum and her massive behavioural issues are directly related to her parents. I'm pretty well speechless at what the parents have created here and apparently have done with their second child also.
On a literary level, the book is poorly written. Anyone who thinks this book is otherwise is deluded. I persevered with this book hoping that Dad would develop some insight into his unpleasant personality but again I was disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
Oh my god I just wanted to punch this man. Where do I even begin. He tries to raise his child with a complete lack of discipline due to her "illness" and her high I.Q. (which by the way I was sick of hearing about). At first I thought his whining and entitlement were kidding or something. I figured he was going to tell us how stupid he's been and by the end of the book he'd be looking back and laughing on what an idiot he was. Sorry that sounded harsh but this book is truly terrible. They abuse an animal. They allow their daughter to abuse a baby and other children. I'm sorry she's got a mental illness, truly a horrible one. I've worked in the Mental Health Field for 30 years. But all children, whether "normal" or not have to grow up. They have to know how to get along in society. I've seen too many whose parents felt sorry for them and let them do whatever because "they're ill". Sooner or later that little girl will grow up - she'll be an adult. Then when she hits someone she won't get sympathy. She'll get locked up. Get off your butt and teach her.
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