Summary: Ron Powers alternates the story of his own family, as his two boys grow up and eventually are diagnosed with schizophrenia, with a history of how the mental health system has failed to take care of mentally ill people.
My thoughts: I wanted to like this book. I did. But the historical sections weren’t anything I hadn’t read before in many a better-researched book (though they might be interesting to someone who has no background knowledge of the subject). Powers’ family story was interesting at first, but then it became apparent that he was going to make his sons into little saints whose only failures were due to either nascent schizophrenia or to the illness post-development. Not true. The kids were human beings who made mistakes. Dean didn’t get along with his dad as a teenager not because he was going to later fall into the grips of a mental illness, but because he was an angsty teen who had been through a lot of hardship in life. The car accident that was the life-changing event for Dean was, indeed, at least partly his fault. It doesn’t sound like he deserved the punishment he received…but then again, he HAD been underage drinking (though Powers says he was not legally drunk) which is a crime. And not a crime that was due to nascent schizophrenia – one that many (dare I say most) teenagers commit without any impending mental illness at all. And what can I say about Kevin? He was perfect. Not a mistake in his life. So talented. So amazing.
Kids make mistakes, Mr. Powers. Yes, the mental health system failed them. So, so true. But why make them into saints?