Losing Dad, Paranoid Schizophrenia: A Family's Search for Hope


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“Most memoirs about schizophrenia focus on youth. Few document the special trials that can come from an onset in one's fifties, when home and family are set. . . . Families who struggle with similar circumstances will find Amanda LaPera's descriptions hard-hitting, powerful, and familiar. . . . discusses many subjects not typically seen in memoirs about families and mental illness. . . . The result is an eye-opening, important discussion that holds many implications for book club readers, psychology groups, support services for families of mentally ill individuals, and the general reading public. . . . This is why Losing Dad, Paranoid Schizophrenia is highly recommended not just for specialty collections or discussion groups, but for general-interest audiences and libraries who need to be more aware of the circumstances, struggles, and social and community systems involved in late-age mental illness.” 


—D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review



“LaPera recounts the harrowing tale of her father's descent into mental illness and her family's quest to help him in a direct, no-holds-barred approach that invites readers into the situation. Together, author and reader embark on the highs and lows of Joseph's journey, tugging away at a wide range of emotions. LaPera is a talented writer, able to convincingly characterize her father's mental illness and provoke frustration, compassion, and feelings of impotence in readers, similar to the emotions experienced by the author herself. While mental illness and complicated familial relationships are frequently explored in memoir, LaPera offers a uniquely powerful. deeply personal chronicle that will resonate with readers. Characterization is top-notch and intimate, particularly her well-rounded, resonating portrayal of LaPera's father.”

—BookLife Prize



“In this touching memoir. . . . readers are immersed into LaPera's firsthand account of the effects mental illness has not only on the diagnosed individual but all those who love him. . . . Written with compassion, emotion, and insight, LaPera tells her father's story as only someone with first-hand knowledge of witnessing the life-altering effects of mental illness, all with a hard-won emphasis on healing and hope. . . . gripping, touching account. . . . offers a visceral, often heart-rending portrait chronicle, with welcome attention paid to the rippling effects of mental illness. Readers will be emotionally affected by this story that contributes much that’s wise and healthy to the ongoing conversation.” 

BookLife Reviews (Editor’s Pick)



“The astounding patience, compassion, love, commitment to family, and willpower LaPera has shown while coping with such an issue is remarkable. I recommend Losing Dad, Paranoid Schizophrenia to anyone who faces mental illness or knows someone who does. This book will inspire and encourage loved ones not to give up hope even when getting help seems all but impossible.”

—  Amy Raines for Readers’ Favorite (Five-Star Review)



“A gripping story of fear and loss—of a search for hope—and of love.”

— Five-Star Review by Patricia Reding for Readers’ Favorite


"A story with a powerful quiet that lingers." 

— Alicia Winski, Founder, Editor-In-Chief at Nightwing Publications


“Stories of heartache and loss are plentiful, but a true tale which makes the reader feel like a friendly ear on the other side of the table…sticks to the ribs.”

— Ellen Eldridge, Target Audience Magazine


No drugs. No alcohol. So, how does a fifty-three-year-old develop schizophrenia? That’s the question puzzling Joseph’s family when his mind descends into madness, filled with grandiose delusions and paranoia. He roams the world as a self-proclaimed prophet-of-God—purportedly arrested in Israel, advised the Mafioso in Italy, and hailed as a prophet in Africa. When he returns to the United States, he faces down drug dealers and prostitutes while homeless, then disappears.
His wife and three kids race to find answers before he slips away forever. Their biggest fear—he will die a faceless stranger on the streets. Alone. 
A Benjamin Franklin Silver award-winner in psychology, Losing Dad, Paranoid Schizophrenia: A Family's Search for Hope is a compelling true story told through multiple perspectives—the children, spouse, and patient; it offers a glimpse into a world that will either feel hauntingly familiar or shocking. 
The foreword by Dr. Xavier Amador, Founder, LEAP Institute, Author of I am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help! explains the neurological condition of anosognosia
This 10th Anniversary Edition has rearranged formatted for improved readability and additional supplemental materials, which include updated discussion of mental health laws, family interviews, photographs, and expanded reading guide questions useful for book clubs or classroom discussion. Ideal as a case study showcasing lived experience for those in medical, mental health, law enforcement, political, and legal fields to better understand the societal and psychological impacts of mental illness, both as experienced by caregivers and the community. Severe mental illness impacts the entire family.
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