The Edge of Every Day: Sketches of Schizophrenia

Pantheon. Jun. 2019. 304p. ISBN 9781524746933. $25.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524746940. PSYCH
Pushcart Prize nominee and lauded essayist Sardy displays her superb skills for criticism and cultural journalism in this remarkable, beautifully written memoir of her family’s lifetime struggle with schizophrenia. The illness has long absorbed her mother in a psychotic world of delusions and paranoia and so dominated her brother’s life that it ultimately caused his death by suicide. Originally from Anchorage, AK, Sardy traveled around the country, eventually settling in New York. Here the author recalls her once uberwealthy grandfather who founded a successful oil exploration business but was overwhelmed by the illness’s hold on the lives of his daughter and grandson. She also presents reflections on mental-health research into how the mind works and the state of current treatment. The narrative flows smoothly and cinematically evokes the author’s coming to terms with the disorder and finding a way through the madness instead of trying to control or end it.
VERDICT Some readers may need to adjust to the author’s nonchronological approach that nevertheless succeeds brilliantly in conveying the realities of mental illness in a memorable manner. Should be required reading for mental health professionals; essential for all libraries supporting the mental health curriculum.
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