Is There No Place on Earth for Me?

Is There No Place on Earth for Me?

Book - 1983
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" A brilliantly documented chronicle of young woman's long struggle with schizophrenia."

-- Willard Gaylin, The New Republic

"Sylvia Frumkin," highly intelligent young girl, became a schizophrenic in her late teens and spent most of the next seventeen years in anti out of mental institutions. Susan Sheehan, a talented reporter followed "Sylvia" for almost a year talking with and observing her listening to her monologues, sitting in on consultations with doctors, even for a period sleeping in the bed next to her in a mental hospital.

"Susan Sheehan has committed an extraordinary act of journalism....She brings relentless intelligent attention to bear on a particular case, a journalistic practice that almost always results in new and disturbing insights into those mindless generalities and prejudice and certitudes we tend to carry around with us." -- Meg Greenfield, front page Washington Post Book World

"Sheehan is tenacious, observant and unsentimental. The history of a single patient leads us into a maze of understaffed institutions, bureaucratic fumbling, trial-and-error treatment and familial incomprehension. Though Sheehan keeps herself invisible, her sympathy is palpable."

-- Walter Clemons, Newsweek

By the author of Lift for Me Ain't Been No Crystal Stair
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, 1983, c1982.
ISBN: 9780394713786
Characteristics: xv, 333 p. ;,21 cm.


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Aug 02, 2012

Sheehan won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction for this book in the early '80s. It is an extraordinary account of one year in one young woman's life. "Sylvia Frumkin" is in her thirties, and has suffered severe schizophrenia since her teens. Sheehan was given permission from Frumkin, her family, and the medical staff at a big mental hospital in New York City to spend this time with Ms. Frumkin. She talked to her, observed her, sat in on medical consultations & treatments, watched family dynamics, even slept in the bed next to her for some time. What emerges is what Robert Coles (who wrote a great introduction to the book) calls "a life which is hell on earth". Sheehan is observant and unsentimental, but the pain, confusion and frustration for Ms. Frumkin and others around her pours off these pages. Not an easy read but an important one - especially for those of us who have had the good luck not to have such suffering ourselves or in our immediate circle of loved ones.

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