A noted author of essays and criticism, Marin Sardy is the daughter and sister of schizophrenics, her mother and her brother Tom. Although her mother was never officially diagnosed, doctors suggested that she did have some form of schizophrenia, and, to Marin, her mother was stolen by this “shapeless thief”. The earlier parts of the book explore schizophrenia in a way that feels rather loosely connected, and indeed, portions of this book were previously published as essays: personal experiences, effects on families, a possible link to creativity, David Bowie and Ms. Sardy’s own wardrobe choices. However, as the book nears its central story, that of her brother Tom, its earlier disjointedness seems purposeful, a mimicking of the “episodic, fragmented, gaping” effect of schizophrenia itself. Life to a schizophrenic is described as “a series of stills”.
Tom’s story is heartbreaking, and that is neither trite nor a cliche, no. No other statement does justice. Robbed of all hope and promise, homeless on the streets of Anchorage, in and out of our inadequate mental health care systems, loved helplessly by family and friends who shelter him when possible and search endlessly for resources, solutions, help of any kind. Ultimately, Ms. Sardy relates a personal experience with a baby raven as a way to tell us that “…sometimes, ceremony is the only resolution we can have.” A deeply moving and thought-provoking reading experience. Available in May wherever books are sold, or click the following link to pre-order at Amazon.com: The Edge of Every Day: Sketches of Schizophrenia
Full Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided to me by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group / Pantheon via NetGalley. I would like to thank the publisher and the author for providing me this opportunity. All opinions expressed herein are my own.