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The Price of Silence – Book Review by Kelie Kyser

The Price of Silence – A Mom’s Perspective on Mental Illness written by Liza Long is the pricea compelling (non-fiction) account of a woman’s journey to be a good parent and advocate for her son Michael, and “the one in five children who have mental illness” in America.  Long acquired unsought popularity after publishing a blog post on Friday, December 14, 2012; the day her then 13-year-old son was hospitalized at an acute mental health facility.  And two days after the tragedy of the highly publicized Sandy Hook incident.

The gist of the book

The mother of four became a household name after releasing an emotional (self-confessed) knee-jerk reaction to her concern for her family’s plight and the devastating news from Connecticut in a blog post entitled “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother”.  The post went viral, her book was published, and the rest as they say is history.

Why I found the book credible and easy to read

With a combined bibliography and notes section that totals 66 pages, one can’t deny that this author has thoroughly done her research.  The book (articulated in a way that only a mother can) brings to the forefront the stigma surrounding mental illness and the paradox of our school system, health care system, and legal system; outlining in great detail the “school-to-jail pipeline”.

Unlike other books of this genre, I found that I could actually grasp many of the confusing practices, terminology, concepts, and loopholes associated with our nation’s attempt to deinstitutionalize individuals with mental illness.  In Chapter 6 Long legitimately questions, “Why have jails become the institution of choice to treat children with mental illness?”  And while the answer can’t be found in the 206 page narrative, there’s no doubt in my mind this book will serve as a catalyst for change.

 Why I recommend this book to others

The Price of Silence dispels myths, addresses inequities, and opens the door for conversations we as a society should have been talking about long before 2012.

I recommend this book to parents of children with mental illness for solidarity, for parents of children without mental illness as a tool to end bullying in schools, for professionals in the justice system to gain insight on their lack of education about the subject matter, and for advocates in the disability community to aid us in finding solutions to an epidemic that is unfortunately all too common.

Members, please reserve The Price of Silence from our library today.  Let’s start a conversation about your take on “a mom’s perspective on mental illness”.

Disclaimer: The Arc Arapahoe & Douglas Counties does not endorse or recommend any service, therapy, provider, etc., discussed in this book. This blog post is for information purposes only and reflects the opinion of the author.


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