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Page updated: December 5, 2013

Book Synopsis of Illuminating Schizophrenia: Insights Into the Uncommon Mind

Illuminating Schizophrenia: Insights Into the Uncommon Mind

Book Synopsis provided by Jane Statlander, PhD, associate professor at Miami International University of Art & Design

Ann Olson's book deals a crushing blow to those who believe that Schizophrenics are doomed to failure. She has had much success in her life: she obtained a PhD in Psychology, has taught and holds a job and writes poetry.

This memoir is a very poignant reflection of a very sensitive, intelligent and motivated woman who overcomes many many very difficult obstacles every day from the time she wakes up until she goes to sleep. The great light of her life is her psychiatrist father who has stood beside her, helped her through many crises and offers financial help through the rough spots of her life. She has worked as a counselor for other Schizophrenics and those with various mental illnesses.

Highlights of the book include the description of her marriage of several years to a Schizophrenic man. Her description sheds much light on the nature of Schizophrenic behavior and the difficulties of marriages that involve Schizophrenia and Schizophrenic behavior of such magnitude involving two members of the union.

She describes in great detail the terrible pain of dealing with others through Schizophrenic episodes and when the Schizophrenia is controlled with medication. The Schizophrenic, in her estimation, is marked out as an outcast from society. She demands that society pay attention to Schizophrenics as equal members of the human community.

This book is a wonder for another reason. It took a sustained effort of great intelligence, fortitude, persistence and motivation just to write it. The author had to begin and finish telling her story and did so in a very clear and compelling fashion.

On the critical side, it would have been interesting to read more of the details of her treatment and the analyses of her psychiatrist father. Such an illness seems to demand more scientific detailing in order to understand the fundamental causes of its crippling effects. Perhaps details of the kinds of medications; facts about her psychological treatment; her hospitalizations; and other medical related specifics would have given more breadth and depth to her book.

In conclusion, this is a very unique book written by a very unique woman who refuses the label fate gave her. She is a noble, successful member of the human community and her story must be told.