The Memoir of a Schizophrenic by Karl Lorenz Willett

The Synopsis:

This is the extraordinary story of Karl’s life, an ordinary man with a controlled mental health problem. At the centre of his heart is the love and care for his family and for other people. No matter which direction his circumstances takes him he is usually handicapped on a side or sides and get frustrated, terribly worried, anxious and despairing. He realized he had come far in survival of his marriage and in a jumble of actions and feelings many things happened simultaneously and Karl recorded them. The irregularity of Karl’s life stories suggests there is someone designing destinies but through patience and understanding he drawn much more on his own strength. Karl had catalogued many actions, sensation, thoughts and feelings that had crowded into the kaleidoscope of time from the year he was born1956 to the present 2016.

I received the book from the author for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  


Memoir of a Schizophrenic

I picked this up thinking it would be interesting to hear about the first hand experiences of someone with schizophrenia. There is so much dialogue today about various mental health disorders, and I thought this would be an interesting contribution to the conversation. While it was interesting, it was not in the way I had imagined.

To be honest, I don’t really understand this book. It seems like an odd conglomeration of a diary or journal, an ongoing letter to his children, and an autobiography regarding his illness stretching from 1982 to 2016. To be quite honest, I didn’t even finish the book. I read 70 pages, and was still only a tenth of the way to the 714 pages it was in all. Out of what I did read, though, maybe 10% was directly related to schizophrenia. Even this, in the way he addressed it I couldn’t tell how much was the illness and how much was religious confusion.

The rest of the book was anecdotes about his life: falling in love, getting married, having kids, etc. My largest critique is simply that the book was too long and contained too many irrelevant details. For example, there was detailed information regarding his finances when his family wanted to move, what it meant for him to be an organ donor, and his living will should he need it. As I said, I spent most of the time reading this confused as to why he was sharing it. Upon glancing at the remaining 90% of the book, I saw that it continues in this fashion for another 20+ years from the time I stopped reading until the end. Due to this, I felt as though there wasn’t a climax or point to the story, just random memories and occurrences in his life, loosely held together in a chronological format.

Overall, I like Willett’s writing style – other than some typos he wrote well. It was clean, although some of the things that he addressed to his children regarding their birth I wouldn’t want to know if it were me. It was just too long and felt a bit disorganized.

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