Quick Review: January First by Michael Schofield (Releasing in August)

Through Net Galley I received an ARC download of this novel, whose full title is: “January First: A Child’s Descent into Madness and her Father’s Struggle to Save Her”. I had heard about this book – I think on NPR – and was intrigued to read this true story.

January Schofield is a brilliant and precocious young girl with a vivid imaginary life. As January develops, however, her creativity and genius is occluded by what is finally diagnosed, at age six, as childhood schizophrenia. January’s case is marked by severe violence and almost constant hallucinations. Her doctors struggle to understand her and to find medications that will effectively treat her, while her family struggles to keep her (and her little brother) safe.

I found this novel to be an incredibly compelling read. I started it one evening and read through until 2 AM in order to finish it. I think one of the things that drew me to this book was how incredibly human the parents were. You could just feel how they were struggling and how they were willing to do whatever they could for their child (actually children), even if it meant living apart. Their painful journey is described in detail through the father’s voice.

Thanks, Net Galley and Crown Publishers for my copy!