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January First: A Child's Descent Into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her [Hardcover]

Michael Schofield
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Aug 2012

Michael Schofield’s daughter January is at the mercy of her imaginary friends, except they aren’t the imaginary friends that most young children have; they are hallucinations. And January is caught in the conflict between our world and their world, a place she calls Calalini.  Some of these hallucinations, like “24 Hours,” are friendly and some, like “400 the Cat” and “Wednesday the Rat,” bite and scratch her until she does what they want.  They often tell her to scream at strangers, jump out of buildings, and attack her baby brother. 
 
At six years old, January Schofield, “Janni,” to her family, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, one of the worst mental illnesses known to man.  What’s more, schizophrenia is 20 to 30 times more severe in children than in adults and in January’s case, doctors say, she is hallucinating 95 percent of the time that she is awake. Potent psychiatric drugs that would level most adults barely faze her. 

A New York Times bestseller, January First captures Michael and his family's remarkable story in a narrative that forges new territory within books about mental illness. In the beginning, readers see Janni’s incredible early potential: her brilliance, and savant-like ability to learn extremely abstract concepts. Next, they witnesses early warning signs that something is not right, Michael’s attempts to rationalize what’s happening, and his descent alongside his daughter into the abyss of schizophrenia.  Their battle has included a two-year search for answers, countless medications and hospitalizations, allegations of abuse, despair that almost broke their family apart and, finally, victories against the illness and a new faith that they can create a life for Janni filled with moments of happiness. 
 
A compelling, unsparing and passionate account, January First vividly details Schofield’s commitment to bring his daughter back from the edge of insanity.  It is a father’s soul-baring memoir of the daily struggles and challenges he and his wife face as they do everything they can to help Janni while trying to keep their family together. 



Product details

  • Hardcover: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Us Imports; 1 edition (7 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307719089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307719089
  • ASIN: 0307719081
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 14.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 759,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Imagine invisible demons that attack your beautiful child. But this is no nightmare, and no supernatural fantasy. The demons are real, and they come from inside her own mind. The story of January Schofield, diagnosed at six with childhood schizophrenia. is told by her father, Michael, with a father's tenderness, a novelist's consciousness, and a knight's grace. We can hold our breath and pray, but not look away. This modern parable may be the most compelling book you will ever read." --Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of "The Deep End of the Ocean"""January First" is a riveting and compelling-and also quite painful--story of a father's efforts to help his young daughter find a place for herself in this world in the face of a serious mental illness. Schofield gives a glimpse inside the mind of a child who lives much of her life in another world, interacting with "friends" who are only in her mind. Schofield takes us on his journey with Jani, starting with his thoughts that Jani is simply a misunderstood genius to recognition that something is really wrong, to the ultimate diagnosis of schizophrenia, a very serious mental illness, even more so when it manifests in a child. Schofield and his wife never give up. Their dedication and steadfastness are inspirational. Their story will be highly valued by the many families with a child with mental illness-indeed, by the many families who have any kind of struggle with their kids. The book ends on a hopeful note with Jani in a better place, yet we recognize that the battle is likely not over." - Elyn Saks, MacArthur Grant Recipient and author of "The Center Cannot Hold""In his memoirs 'January First, ' Michael Schofield chronicles his family's experience with [a] devastating mental illness, which usually presents itself at least a decade later." --"Daily Mail" (UK) "January's story is one of redemption, of resilience, of a family coming together in spite of all to rally for a difficult, special girl."--"New --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Michael Schofield and his family live in California, where Michael teaches English at California State University. The Schofields have appeared on US television, including ABC News, the Discovery Health Network, and the Oprah Winfrey show. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Moving 16 Sep 2012
By TJDB
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most moving books I have ever read. I cannot begin to imagine how much of a struggle and how heartbreaking it must be to have your beautiful child diagnosed with child-onset schizophrenia and having to cope with the hospitalizations, insurance companies, sometimes the isolation and ignorance from others and the day to day life that this family have had to go through, yet, they have adapted and coped very well and judging by the updates online, Jani and her family are now back living in the same apartment so that is wonderful progress indeed. I wish them the very best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So touching could not put down!! 16 Aug 2014
By Sarah
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An amazingly touching read! I could not put this book down, interesting to learn what her parents have to go through and how they deal with Jani's illness and it amazing to see how someone so young like Jani has to deal with such a big illness, I really take my hat off to this family their story is truly amazing and shows the amount of love for their children despite problems. Strongly recommend!!!!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Michael First 9 May 2013
By Verne
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The main thing to note about this book is that it's not January's story, it's Michael's. Michael's love for Janni is unconditional, and he is a fantastic father, but at times I feel this takes over the story too much. I feel for the mother, who Michael has written in such a way that I can't even see how they are still together after she's read it. He seems very controlling, right down to the way he tells his story.

I did actually really enjoy the book, in its extremely disturbing way. It reminds me a little of 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' at times, but the fact it is real life really is amazing. The pace is right, it's well written and wasy to read. I so wanted to give it more stars, because I know it's just Michael's love for Janni that makes his story the way it is, but it just frustrated me in the end.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down 1 Sep 2012
By Jessj01
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read an article in the paper about this family and had to buy the book. Whilst there is despair about the situation, it is the love that Michael and his wife have for their daughter, son and ultimately each other that shines through. He may not be perfect but he tries to give an honest account of what is happening and how he is feeling.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought 12 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyable book, have great appreciation of how difficult life must be for these parents, and how far they have come with providing their daughter with a good, safe life. Very inspirational. An easy, well written read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Really moving 8 Aug 2014
By Amii
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a really moving and frank story about a dad who battles to try and save his young daughter who is suffering from schizophrenia. Really gut wrenching and inspirational anf i admire the honesty with which her father writes. A must have read for me.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a powerful story 9 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback
This story of a family devasted by the severe mental illness of a young child is heartbreaking and shocking. The honesty in the telling of this story is commendable as is the strength and determination of the family themselves. A story that will live with you long after you have finished reading.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars January First 4 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well written and easy to read. A very open and honest memoir about the struggles of having a child with extreme difficulties and working out the best way to help. Michael Schofield gives a very deep insight into his family and shows ultimately how they all manage to pull through. Anyone with any interest in child mental health should read this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Munchausen's by Proxy psychiatric version
This book is not about schizophrenia. It's about a seriously deluded father who struggles to get a "mental illness" label for his little daughter's atrocious behaviour, and dopes... Read more
Published 1 month ago by honest opinion
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing
This was such an eye-opening and heartfelt book. I laughed, I cried, I felt for Michael Scofield and his whole family.

I found this book through a Reddit AMA. Read more
Published 1 month ago by R. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written
This book was completely engrossing. A real insight into life with schizophrenia. As a parent of an autistic child i could relate to living in fear of and for your child. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Butterfly
5.0 out of 5 stars kept me totally engrossed
Best book in ages but so disturbing and sad. Read it in just four sittings which is unheard of for me.
Published 5 months ago by Mrs Milne
5.0 out of 5 stars A father s love
I never knew children could suffer from Schizophrenia ,your heart goes out to the whole family other dads might have given up but not this one .Highly recommend this book
Published 6 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
This book is truly heartbreaking yet inspiring. Throughout the entire book the l love and determination from Jani's parents makes this a compelling read.
Published 8 months ago by Mrs. Julie Mccallin
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning book for everyone to understand
I like to read other peoples life stories, feeling this is the only way to understand a person truly, which is by listening. I read this book with an open mind and heart. Read more
Published 9 months ago by vek
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound
Heartbreaking honesty makes you sit and think. They've all done what any parent would try there hardest and somehow hit on a win-win x Inspirational
Published 9 months ago by Ree
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