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January First: A Child's Descent Into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her

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January First: A Child's Descent Into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Michael Schofield’s daughter January is at the mercy of her imaginary friends, except they aren’t the imaginary friends that most young children have; they are hallucinations. And January is caught in the conflict between our world and their world, a place she calls Calalini.  Some of these hallucinations, like “24 Hours,” are friendly and some, like “400 the Cat” and “Wednesday the Rat,” bite and scratch her until she does what they want.  They often tell her to scream at strangers, jump out of buildings, and attack her baby brother. 

 

At six years old, January Schofield, “Janni,” to her family, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, one of the worst mental illnesses known to man.  What’s more, schizophrenia is 20 to 30 times more severe in children than in adults and in January’s case, doctors say, she is hallucinating 95 percent of the time that she is awake. Potent psychiatric drugs that would level most adults barely faze her. 

A riveting New York Times bestseller, January First captures Michael and his family's remarkable story in a narrative that forges new territory within books about mental illness. In the beginning, readers see Janni’s incredible early potential: her brilliance, and savant-like ability to learn extremely abstract concepts. Next, they witnesses early warning signs that something is not right, Michael’s attempts to rationalize what’s happening, and his descent alongside his daughter into the abyss of schizophrenia.  Their battle has included a two-year search for answers, countless medications and hospitalizations, allegations of abuse, despair that almost broke their family apart and, finally, victories against the illness and a new faith that they can create a life for Janni filled with moments of happiness. 

 

A compelling, unsparing and passionate account, January First vividly details Schofield’s commitment to bring his daughter back from the edge of insanity.  It is a father’s soul-baring memoir of the daily struggles and challenges he and his wife face as they do everything they can to help Janni while trying to keep their family together. 

Synopsis:

At age six, January ("Jani") Schofield was diagnosed with one of the most severe cases of child-onset schizophrenia on record. Hallucinating constantly, she is at the mercy of her imaginary friends—some of whom are friendly, while others tell her to scream at strangers, jump out of buildings, and attack her baby brother. Jani is torn between two places: "Calalini," the illusory home of her imaginary friends, and our world. When potent psychiatric drugs that would level most adults barely faze her, the line dividing delirium from reality grows dangerously blurry. 

   Amid Jani's struggle are her parents, who face seemingly insurmountable obstacles daily just to keep both of their children alive and safe. Their battle has included a two-year search for answers, countless medications and hospitalizations, allegations of abuse, despair that almost broke the family apart and, finally, victories against the illness and a new faith that they can create a happy life for Jani. 

   A passionate and inspirational account, January First is a father's soul-bearing memoir of the daily challenges and unwavering commitment to save his daughter from the edge of insanity while doing everything he can to keep his family together. 

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content

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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

code7r, August 24, 2013 (view all comments by code7r)
“January First” by Michael Schofield is a remarkable story of a young girl who has full-blown schizophrenia. The story is told from the father’s perspective, Michael Schofield. I had seen the documentary on Jani and so I already knew the story before reading the book. This family is remarkable. Instead of hiding their daughter away, they decided to tell the world about her so that maybe the world would be a little kinder to children with disabilities.

I did enjoy reading the book and seeing what it was (and is) like from the father’s point of view. What I didn’t expect, and I felt it was distracting, were the pot shots taken at the mother throughout the book… as though it was only the father who fought for Jani. I truly expected that the last page would say they were divorced, but instead he talks about Susan, his wife, and how he wouldn’t have wanted anyone else by his side.

When the book focused more on Jani and what she was going through, that was when it was hard to put down. It would have been so easy to have her institutionalized, but the family decided that she was to stay part of the family and made some amazing sacrifices so she could.

This book was an amazing peek into what life is like for schizophrenia. I think it would be an interesting read for parents and people who have family or friends with mental disorders.


*** I received this book through GoodReads First Readers Giveaway. It had no influence on my review. ***
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McGuffy Ann, January 23, 2013 (view all comments by McGuffy Ann)
This is the true account of a child tormented by mental illness. It is written with the intensity and emotion that only a parent can feel.

From infancy, Janni had conflicts that other children did not seem to have. She was more connected to her imaginary friends than other children. She was absorbed in a world she called Calalini. As time went on, it became apparent that these were, in fact hallucinations.

Janni’s parents, unable to help her, sought counsel and medical advice. Ultimately, they were forced to obtain psychiatric intervention. They needed help, but also answers and a direction to resolving Janni’s problems.

January became a hazard to herself and her parents; she also became a serious hazard to her baby brother. They could not allow Janni near him for fear that his crying would send her into a rage. Her many problems were tearing the family apart. However, her parents would not give up on the family, or on January.

At the tender age of six, January was finally diagnosed with Schizophrenia. With this diagnosis, her parents were finally able to begin to understand Janni, and to help her.

This is a very emotionally charged account of mental illness and its effects on a very young child, as well as her family. Both heartbreaking and brave, it is a compelling read.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307719096
Author:
Schofield, Michael
Publisher:
Broadway Books
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
memoir;schizophrenia;mental illness;non-fiction;parenting
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8 x 5.23 x 0.64 in 0.73 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Child Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Medical Specialties
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General Disorders
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Personality Disorders
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Psychopathology » Schizophrenia
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders

January First: A Child's Descent Into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her New Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Broadway Books - English 9780307719096 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , At age six, January ("Jani") Schofield was diagnosed with one of the most severe cases of child-onset schizophrenia on record. Hallucinating constantly, she is at the mercy of her imaginary friends—some of whom are friendly, while others tell her to scream at strangers, jump out of buildings, and attack her baby brother. Jani is torn between two places: "Calalini," the illusory home of her imaginary friends, and our world. When potent psychiatric drugs that would level most adults barely faze her, the line dividing delirium from reality grows dangerously blurry. 

   Amid Jani's struggle are her parents, who face seemingly insurmountable obstacles daily just to keep both of their children alive and safe. Their battle has included a two-year search for answers, countless medications and hospitalizations, allegations of abuse, despair that almost broke the family apart and, finally, victories against the illness and a new faith that they can create a happy life for Jani. 

   A passionate and inspirational account, January First is a father's soul-bearing memoir of the daily challenges and unwavering commitment to save his daughter from the edge of insanity while doing everything he can to keep his family together. 

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content

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