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An exceptional piece of investigative journalism that is potently affective.

  • May 9, 2013
  • by
Rating:
+5
If the investigative reporter Nellie Bly were still alive, she probably would have declared Susan Sheehan to be her comrade-in-arms, journalistically speaking, at least, for so eye-opening is this book, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1983 in the nonfiction category, that one can't help but somehow feel indirectly involved in this true story in regards to time, place and manner.

By chronicling the schizophrenic oddesy of a single patient, "Sylvia Frumkin", a pseudonym, Susan Sheehan has performed an intimate piece of extraordinary journalism, whereby she brings the reader into the frightening and oftentimes misunderstood world of those possessed by mental illness. With compassionate, intellectual and keen, almost anthropological observation, Sheehan weaves through the blurred and confusing healthcare bureaucracy which "Sylvia Frumkin" and her family incrementally find themselves trying to navigate. Coupled with psychiatric doctors who seem tartly bent on competing against each other in regards to what drug perscriptions are best (and there is a flurry of them), a frazzled family who is so thinly glued together that a feather could crack them apart and "Sylvia Frumkin" herself, whose fragile mental health goes up and down faster than a blinking eye, a reader would want to toss the book aside simply because of the consistent up and down emotional tolls that are flatly patterned in each passing chapter. Yet, as each chapter occurs, it also provides a clean slate and or a new beginning where the illness can be kept at bay and "Sylvia Frumkin" can finally have the good normal life that she deserves. However, it is the rare bouts of normalcy that are fleeting and therein is where the loss of hope and frustration lie. It is that very fleetingness that is so expertly conveyed in, Is There No Place On Earth For Me?

Sheehan's book is one of those rare type of books, not simply because of its high journalistic caliber, but because it is one of those works that can actually bring about good, positive change in a very flawed system, and if a system, governmentally, medically and administratively speaking ever needed change, Creedmore Hospital and those of a similar ilk, definitely required serious correction. Sheehan's book was an eye-opening and engrossing read, amd one can only gravely echo Sheehan's own words in the afterword: "I want there to be a decent place for "Sylvia Frumkin"...and for the many thousands of other people like her."
An exceptional piece of investigative journalism that is potently affective.

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More Is There No Place on Earth for... reviews
review by . July 22, 2007
If the investigative reporter Nellie Bly were still alive, she probably would have declared Susan Sheehan to be her comrade-in-arms, journalistically speaking, at least, for so eye-opening is this book, a Pulitzer Prize winner in 1983 in the nonfiction category, that one can't help but somehow feel indirectly involved in this true story in regards to time, place and manner.    By chronicling the schizophrenic oddesy of a single patient, "Sylvia Frumkin", a pseudonym, Susan Sheehan …
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" A brilliantly documented chronicle of young woman's long struggle with schizophrenia."

-- Willard Gaylin, The New Republic

"Sylvia Frumkin," highly intelligent young girl, became a schizophrenic in her late teens and spent most of the next seventeen years in anti out of mental institutions. Susan Sheehan, a talented reporter followed "Sylvia" for almost a year talking with and observing her listening to her monologues, sitting in on consultations with doctors, even for a period sleeping in the bed next to her in a mental hospital.

"Susan Sheehan has committed an extraordinary act of journalism....She brings relentless intelligent attention to bear on a particular case, a journalistic practice that almost always results in new and disturbing insights into those mindless generalities and prejudice and certitudes we tend to carry around with us." -- Meg Greenfield, front page Washington Post Book World

"Sheehan is tenacious, observant and unsentimental. The history of a single patient leads us into a maze of understaffed institutions, bureaucratic fumbling, trial-and-error treatment and familial incomprehension. Though Sheehan keeps herself invisible, her sympathy is palpable."

-- Walter Clemons, Newsweek

By the author of Lift for Me Ain't Been No Crystal Stair

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ISBN-10: 0394713788
ISBN-13: 978-0394713786
Author: Susan Sheehan
Genre: Health, Mind & Body
Publisher: Vintage
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