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.
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.
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.
"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.