Posts Tagged ‘paranoid schizophrenic’

Coming-of-age novels are a gutsy genra with challenging standard bearers to match or surpass.  Add to that challenge the task of writing with honesty, empathy, and insight about a paranoid schizophrenic sixteen year old boy off his medications and with a violent past, you have overwhelming odds the book will not fly.  But this one does.  John Wray gives us Will Heller, who is sometimes known to himself as Lowboy.  He is joined by Ellen, his past and present victum and girlfriend, Violet his mother, and Ali Lateef a detective trying to find Will either above or below New York City.  The chase is messy not merry and it holds you to the very last line of the book.  If the other characters were not so well tended the book would be difficult to read but each becomes important and only slightly less mysterious than Will.

There is no sermonizing or great life lesson in Lowboy.  It is novel through and through, giving the reader an opportunity to independently consider what it takes to be a professional on the schizophrenic duty line everyday.  Neither sympathy or empathy could keep you there.  To be detached yet in contact at every moment, never forgetting what is possible and what is beyond reach, must even for the professional drain reserves.  T spend a life time in the profession is more than I could give.

Those voices, those many voices, from where do they come?  Who are they?  Even Will did not seem to know.  It must be a fatal car crash that never stops.

I don’t know what American philanthropy has done with this disease but I am sure there is always a local charitable need that goes without ample support.  While even more pharmaceutical advances are bound to come it is difficult to expect they will solve everything.  There will always need to be people who understand and are ready to professionally help, and individuals and families ready to support that work through endowment funds.  Others can not say you should do.  Only the sole voice you are blessed with can tell you what is your duty and your opportunity.  Charles Marlin


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