Mental Health Awareness Month, Mothers’ Day, and Memoir Readers

mental health awareness monthMay is days away – bringing both Mothers’ Day and  Mental Health Awareness Month. This has me thinking about wonderful readers who have taken the time to share their thoughts with me – and not only those who are affected by mental illness in their families (one in four families, btw- we are “the 25%”), but also those who see Ben Behind His Voices as, to quote the Library Journal review, “a darn good read for memoir fans.”

Sure, I wrote the book to open eyes to the issues surrounding mental illness and the family, and to help others going through it – but under it all, it’s also the story of a mother (and a sister) who refused to give up on someone they love. I don’t have to have

mothers day gift
a gift from Ben, Mothers Day 2011

shoveled coal to appreciate Angela’s Ashes. And I’m glad that many family members in “the 75%” not directly affected by mental illness in a loved one are still writing to say how much the story of family love and strength means to them.

Here are some recent comments. Thank you!!!

Randye Kaye has touched my heart with this book. It’s not just about battling a disease, it’s about a mother’s love for her family and her relentless crusade to help her children to be the best that they can regardless of what obstacles in life are placed in their way. Randye brings you into her family circle and writes with such emotion that you feel that you are experiencing every high and low with her. It’s a story of courage, of never giving up, of hope. It is a story of inspiration that leaves you feeling that although life does not always turn out the way you hope, it can be ok. This book is not just for families of children battling mental illness, it’s for all parents who face different challenges with their children. I could not put the book down once I started it. Such an incredible story. I hope there is a sequel so we can see how Ben is coping a few years from now. Great book for all, I would highly recommend reading it. – ESM, latest customer review on Amazon

It isn’t often that I spend a little more than a day finishing a book. I usually have 2 or 3 books going at once and I finish them as the spirit moves me…I was truly moved by your story. – MS, Chicago reader

What strikes me most about the story is the reserve of human endurance and the depths of love and resilience of the family…And Ben: how courageous he is and what it takes to manage the disorder comes through on the pages. Randye Kaye’s resilience, determination and courage are inspiring to anyone who must go down this difficult road of schizophrenia or any other chronic illness…this is a painful situation and yet the reader is left hopeful because of the power of hope and love. It shows what it means to be human. – book club reader, Syracuse NY

What can you say about a book that chronicles the descent of a sweet child into mental illness? This is an excellent book, which everyone should read. Mental illness — and especially schizophrenia — is so stigmatized that people are afraid of those who are ill. It is sad to watch, with the author, as her sweet, bright son deteriorates before her eyes, and the years of seeking it took before someone correctly diagnosed his disease. And her reactions — not wanting to be with him, but wanting to protect him; hating him while loving him; missing the beautiful child he once was — are heartbreaking. I highly recommend this book. Laura Nichols, Goodreads reviewer

A truly inspiring story of the struggle against mental illness has recently come to my attention. Written by the mother of an individual suffering from Schizophrenia, “Ben Behind His Voices” is a truly illuminating tale of one family’s long term experience with the various trials and tribulations that go hand-in-hand with mental disorders. – from Max Ingram, blogger at Runic Realities:

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