He Came in with It: A Portrait of Motherhood and Madness

Turner. Jun. 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781684425112. $29.99. BIOG
In the United States, an estimated 8.4 million Americans provide care to an adult living with mental illness. Yet the lack of written accounts from and conversations with these caregivers leave many feeling alone as they deal with the onset and consequences of mental illness in a loved one. Feldman, an artist, writer, and mother of four adult children, helps fill this gap by sharing the story of her son Nick’s life with schizophrenia. Feldman openly and honestly describes her battles with doubt and stigma, the intricacies of the health-care system, and her increasingly unstable mental well-being. The author recounts the impact her son’s illness had on her husband and daughters, as well as her neighbors. She captures the complicated stew of tensions, friction, worry, love, and support as relationships were tested by Nick’s condition and other daunting family crises. Even though Feldman frequently called on dark humor and hope to help her through rough moments, this forthright and forceful reckoning is not for readers seeking silver linings.
VERDICT An excellent choice for book clubs seeking meaningful conversation about mental health, and for public libraries collecting resources for caregivers.

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