Synopses & Reviews
Dazzlingly, daringly written, marrying the thoughtful originality of Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts with the revelatory power of Neurotribes and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, this propulsive, stunning book illuminates the experience of living with schizophrenia like never before.
Sandra Allen did not know her uncle Bob very well. As a child, she had been told he was “crazy,” that he had spent time in mental hospitals while growing up in Berkeley in the 60s and 70s. But Bob had lived a hermetic life in a remote part of California for longer than she had been alive, and what little she knew of him came from rare family reunions or odd, infrequent phone calls. Then in 2009 Bob mailed her his autobiography. Typewritten in all caps, a stream of error-riddled sentences over sixty, single-spaced pages, the often incomprehensible manuscript proclaimed to be a “true story” about being “labeled a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic,” and arrived with a plea to help him get his story out to the world.
“To pay great attention and devote steady care to the perspective of another is, in itself, almost miraculous--especially when the Other has been cast as mad and dangerous. Sandra Allen has brought forward her uncle's life, rendering in exquisite detail what his experiences as a stigmatized, struggling man allowed him to see. This is a truly original piece of work. I urge you to read it.” Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of Random Family
"This book is an act of radical empathy through which the author--and, vicariously, the reader--enters intimately into a life that would otherwise be unintelligible." Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
About the Author
Sandra Allen received an MFA from the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program. A former BuzzFeed features editor, she also co-founded the online literary magazine Wag's Revue. She lives in upstate New York. A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story about Schizophrenia is her first book.
Sandra Allen on PowellsBooks.Blog
The book is based on something my uncle Bob mailed to me back in 2009: the story of his life, typewritten in all capital letters on 60 pages. On a cover page, he wrote that it was a “true story” about being “labeled a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic.” At 16, as a teenager in Berkeley in the early 1970s, Bob had been driven to a mental hospital, locked in a cell, and injected with Thorazine, events that changed his life irrevocably...