Latest read

Last night I finished the book, Rescuing Patty Hearst: Growing Up Sane in a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Homan.  It’s an autobiography covering “Gingie’s” childhood years after her mother, who develops late-onset schizophrenia, kidnaps her and her one-year-old sister to a cottage on a lake.  She believes a war is about to begin and she needs to open a hospital for wounded children.  The girls become confused participants in her mother’s delusional plan.  They must prepare the cottage as a MASH unit, learn first aid, go on night trail hunts to learn how to maneuver alone in the woods, and a slew of other unfathomable things.  Homan switches back and forth, chapter to chapter, telling the story from the mid-1970s when she was a girl to the present, as an adult, telling her thoughts on what happened, including her talks with her mother and father.  The story is well told, shocking, and a quick read.  I felt the fear and horror that Homan lived through, yet there was occasional happiness and in the end forgiveness and love.  It’s an excellent description of living with schizophrenia, so rarely told from a child’s point-of-view.

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2 Responses

  1. Sounds lke a very, very interesting book. In your opinion, do you believe that it was late onset sz? Pretty rare. Just curious what you thought.

  2. According to Homan, her mother doesn’t develop schizophrenia until her early 30s. Yes, that is rare. There are a few things she says, when she interviews her mother, that indicate that the illness was “brewing” when she was younger, but she didn’t become overtly psychotic until her 30s.

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