Reader Reviews for Shot in the Head

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Start Reading. Laugh. Cry. Laugh. Cry. Read till the end.

This is one of those books that when you finish, you don't want to read anything for a few days. The story just sticks there and keeps your emotions going.

Dering's style of writing keeps the story moving, while providing many contrasts and insights about schizophrenia and the human emotions that are challenged in adult siblings of the ill person.  I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a family member or friend who struggles with mental illness. You'll know you're not alone, and your experience isn't unique. For anyone else, it's a well-crafted story that won't disappoint.

Please read this book

SHOT IN THE HEAD is an excellently written memoir, but also an important story. Ms. Dering's narrative strikes just the right balance between informative and passionate, making this very difficult topic not only readable, but emotionally compelling. This story was meant to be shared.


Draws the reader into the family's struggle with Schizophrenia

With intimate detail, this well-written memoir outlines a family’s struggle to create a comfortable life for the author’s younger brother. A dramatic story, “Shot in the Head” draws the reader into the author’s life, as she explains her father’s withdrawal, her mother’s determination and her siblings banding together with her, in response to the schizophrenia that captured Paul.
As he struggled with demons that attacked without notice or provocation, Paul’s battle became Ms. Dering’s battle, and she fought alongside him, as best she was able.

Overall, a tragic tale of the effects mental illness, there are high points and positives throughout the telling. For those familiar with schizophrenia, it is an account with which many will likely identify. For those unfamiliar, it is a story that will enlighten. In either case, it is a narrative that will not soon be forgotten.

Pre-release Reviews for Shot in the Head

"Both universal and personal, Katherine Dering's "Shot in the Head, A Sister's Memoir a Brother's Struggle," is the story of a family just barely holding on. Dering unspools her story with urgent compassion and grace." --Elizabeth Eslami, author of Bone Worship and Hibernate and the 2013 winner of the OhioState University Prize in Short Fiction. 


"When mental illness happens, it affects the whole family.  Much has been written about the effect on parents, but not enough about the grief - and importance - of siblings. You will fall in love with the Flannery clan, who stepped up to support their brother Paul throughout his sad journey with schizophrenia. This book takes you through the frustration, the loss, the mistakes and wishful thinking - and, ultimately the love and support that shines through it all -  as the family struggles to understand the illness and the system, stay together, and also show Paul how much he is loved. This is a readable and important book that will open the reader's eyes to the effects of schizophrenia, the need for change, and the power of family love." --Randye Kaye, author, Ben Behind His Voices: One Family's Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope


"So powerful and emotional" --Ann Cloonan, Director, Bedford Free Library, Bedford, NY

"During the past half century our treatment system for persons with serious mental illness has become a fragmented disaster. Katherine Dering's book is about her middle class family's odyssey during this time as it tries to ensure that her brother with schizophrenia receives adequate services. The book is an extremely well crafted, compelling drama about how a large group of caring siblings interact and cope as their brother becomes severely ill, is repeatedly hospitalized, and endures various attempts to "transition" him into the community. This eye-opening account of the realities of having a seriously mentally ill family member should be at the top of the "must read" list for anyone involved with, or otherwise interested in, improving mental health services for those who are most in need.  --    Fred Frese, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychiatry Northeast Ohio Medical University Coordinator, Recovery Project
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