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Shot In The Head A Sister's Memoir A Brother's Struggle by [Dering, Katherine Flannery]
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Shot In The Head A Sister's Memoir A Brother's Struggle Kindle Edition

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Length: 227 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"Both universal and personal, Katherine Dering's Shot in the Head is the story of a family just barely holding on. Dering unspools her story with urgent compassion and grace." Elizabeth Eslami, author of Bone Worship and Hibernate and the 2013 winner of the Ohio State University Prize in Short Fiction. "So powerful and emotional" Ann Cloonan, Director, Bedford Free Library, Bedford, NY

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2451 KB
  • Print Length: 227 pages
  • Publisher: bridgeross Communications (31 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,902,608 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 24 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A review from the family 20 May 2014
By Monica Leggett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As one of the sisters of the author, I'd like to share why I think Katherine has written such a great book. The best descriptive words are heart-warming, universal, honest, and really well written!

It's heart warming- Katherine shares some of her most personal thoughts and feelings that allow the reader to empathize with her experience. We live through her childhood experiences as well as some key adult transitions, which allows us to know so much about Katherine and her family. I even learned some new things about our family since I am 10 years younger and missed the early years! I'm reminded of a few other memoirs like Eat, Pray, Love or Angela's Ashes, where the author is struggling through difficult life decisions or transitions and we are able to relate to the author as if we are there living through the struggles as well.

The general theme is universal- many families have made sacrifices in order to support someone struggling with mental illness or end-of-life decisions and situations. This book deals with both. Our family happened to falter at some points and rally at others. We went from little communication to constant communication. I think Katherine shared what worked and didn't work in a way that others will learn from.

Katherine is so honest about her thoughts and feelings. Most people will relate to the difficult balance between trying to keep life on an even keel, maybe even ignoring that there's anything to worry about, and stepping in to rescue or help a sick relative. What would we do in that situation? How might we have handled it differently? Mental illness is one of the most feared and stress-inducing diagnosis a person can have, sometimes even more so for the family caregivers. Nothing is easy, but the system is so broken there are often no answers and only bad news at every turn. Mental illness is a very popular issue since Sandy Hook (I live just 20 minutes away), and I know that there is NOT enough infrastructure to help those in need. Katherine reveals some of the greatest flaws when "recovery" is the only direction the system knows and safety nets have all but been eliminated.

I am overjoyed and proud of the way Katherine tells the story. She is a truly gifted writer with a Master in Fine Arts and years of writing experience. Not everyone can or should write a memoir, but Katherine allows the reader to see and feel the events, the characters, and our family in a way that draws the reader in and captures their heart. Many readers have said they couldn't put it down. I read it in two sittings and keep going back to it in my thoughts.

This book appeals to anyone with an empathetic heart, who likes to hear about families who support each other and work through difficult times. We are an unusual family for sure, with 10 kids covering a 17-year age span. Though we didn't realize what was evolving at the time, we certainly learned a lot and Katherine has given a tutorial on how to come together for the sake of love.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start reading. laugh. cry. laugh. cry. repeat until the end. 19 Sept. 2014
By Robert Prol - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of those books that when you finish, you don't want to read anything for a few days. The story just sticks there and keeps your emotions going.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that destroys the life of the sick person. Each family member must find their own way to deal with the heartbreak of seeing someone they love go from happy and loving, to a dark world of delusions. It leaves their families struggling to make sense of the insane mental health system, and the continuous attempt to normalize the life of someone living inside a delusion.

Dering's style of writing keeps the story moving, while providing many contrasts and insights about schizophrenia and the human emotions that are challenged in adult siblings of the ill person. Her story masterfully presented the inevitable chasms this illness causes in a family, without judging anyone. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has a family member or friend who struggles with mental illness. You'll know you're not alone, and your experience isn't unique. For anyone else, it's a well-crafted story that won't disappoint.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful 2 Sept. 2014
By Mary Murphy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Such a special book. For anyone who has a loved one with schizophrenia it is a must read. Coming from a large Irish Catholic family, I could relate to so many similarities. Will also help in seeing how another family lives with a son/ brother with schizophrenia. Even at the funeral for Paul..the same thing happened in my family. My brother Tom was cremated and his ashes flown up from Florida to be placed in the same cemetery where the rest of the family is and will be buried. At the gravesite, the priest starting speaking and my mother said why is he starting to speak, Tommy isn't even here yet. My youngest brother says "Ma, he is in that thing that looks like a cake box". Tom was her first "cremation". God, I love my little brother. This book will stay with you for a long time. I support Congressman Tim Murphy's HR 3717. My son Tom Murphy has paranoid schizophrenia. My 92 year old mother says "it's a sign". I hope and pray she is right. Thank you Katherine for writing this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courageous story of a family's love and care for a brother transformed by mental illness 16 Sept. 2014
By DCtravelingirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It takes courage to write a story like this, laying it out there with candor and empathy for all the other families in similar situations.

Katherine Flannery, her mother, and her eight other siblings did everything they could to stay in touch with their brother Paul. He was, oddly, one of the lucky ones with paranoid schizophrenia, because his very traditional Irish Catholic family recognized that they could not keep him safe at home and committed him as teenager to a New York State institution in the 1960's, when such institutions still existed. That meant that he was covered by Medicaid and that he actually had health care for years to come, care his hardworking family could never have afforded. No, the care was not perfect, but he was for the most part safe and medically supervised. He was never "NKF" or "No Known Family" like so many similar patients whose families give up and abandon them - the Flannerys took turns visiting over the many years that followed.

This is also the story of what happened when he, like so many others, was swept out of that safe place and thrown into the larger community to "learn to cope" through behavior modification - without so much as a notification of his siblings despite their active presence in his life, let alone a consultation of whether his illness would allow him to survive this. What a tragedy for people like Paul, for his loving family and for all the others our society abandoned in the incomplete "reforms" of that period.

We simply must learn how to do better and to change our laws to allow families to care for adults whose brain disease is no more curable or modified by behavior methods than Alzheimer's. The book is the author's first. She is very good at describing the places and moments where this family's story played out, and how the family's understanding of Paul's illness and his needs evolved over the years. Her love for her brother and frustration at how he was treated both shine out of every chapter.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... and Paul my brother but the book is an excellent study of the impact of mental illness on a ... 19 Mar. 2015
By John E Flannery - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perhaps I am a little biased as Katherine is my sister and Paul my brother but the book is an excellent study of the impact of mental illness on a family and the difficulties society has meeting the needs of those who suffer from schizophrenia. The story is tragic but displays a roller coaster of emotions that help the average person to better understand Paul and other schizophrenics as persons in every way.
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