From the back cover:
"At seventeen Lori Schiller was the perfect child -- the only daughter of an affluent, close-knit family. Six years later she made her first suicide attempt, then wandered the streets of New York City dressed in ragged clothes, tormenting voices crying out in her mind. Lori Schiller had entered the horrifying world of full-blown schizophrenia. She began an ordeal of hospitalizations, halfway houses, relapses, more suicide attempts, and constant, withering despair. But against all odds, she survived. Now in this personal account, she tells how she did it, taking us not only into her own shattered world, but drawing on the words of the doctors who treated her and family members who suffered with her. Moving, harrowing, and ultimately uplifting, THE QUIET ROOM is a classis testimony to the ravages of mental illness and the power of perseverance and courage."
Very interesting look into schizophrenia. It also gives perspectives of the parents, siblings, friends and care givers during this time. She describes the beginning of the illness and how it progressed.
This account of a woman's life as she tries to cope with her mental illness was very compelling. I was amazed with the progress that has been made in treating and understanding mental illnesses in just the past twenty years. Lori Schiller's experience also gave me insight into the world of torment where many people live--even when they are being treated for their illness. I also liked that Schiller included chapters from other perspectives: her family members and her doctors. These accounts provided insight to both Schiller's experience and the struggles that her family and caretakers endured. If you know someone with a severe mental illness or if you work with people who suffer from mental illness, it is a must-read!
Make no mistake, this is an excellent book. It combines moving, realistic first-person accounts of Ms. Schiller's schizophrenia from the patient, her family and her psychiatrists. But it leaves out any didactic, direct teaching about schizophrenia. The working model here is "show, don't tell."
And that's great as far as it goes. Extending over a period of more than ten years, though, that lack of factual information about schizophrenia makes it less than totally realistic. Because all of the people involved, including Ms. Schiller, must have learned an awful lot along the way from reading or hearing about what little is known of this disease.
And to some extent that's frustrating for the reader. As one goes with the patient and everyone attending on her through the entire course of her long illness, one has many, many questions about mental disease that could have been answered in relatively brief fashion throughout the book. But that was not the course chosen by the participants or the writer. The book is still well worth reading, but the reader will have to look elsewhere for factual material about schizophrenia.