9 Highland Road: Sane Living for the Mentally Ill

9 Highland Road: Sane Living for the Mentally Ill

by Michael Winerip
     
 

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Before Julie Callahan came to the house at 9 Highland Road in Glen Cove, New York, she had spent a good part of her young life in mental hospitals, her mental and emotional coherence nearly destroyed by a childhood of sexual abuse. Fred Grasso, a schizophrenic, had lived in a filthy single-room occupancy hotel. At 9 Highland Road they and their housemates were given a… See more details below

Overview

Before Julie Callahan came to the house at 9 Highland Road in Glen Cove, New York, she had spent a good part of her young life in mental hospitals, her mental and emotional coherence nearly destroyed by a childhood of sexual abuse. Fred Grasso, a schizophrenic, had lived in a filthy single-room occupancy hotel. At 9 Highland Road they and their housemates were given a decent alternative to lives in institutions or in the streets. It was a place in which some even found the chance to get better.

This perfectly observed and passionately imagined book takes us inside one of the supervised group homes that, in an age of shrinking state budgets and psychotropic drugs, have emerged as the backbone of America's mental health system. As it follows the progress and setbacks of residents, their families, and counselors and notes the embittered resistance their presence initially aroused in the neighborhood, 9 Highland Road succeeds in opening the locked world of mental illness. It does so with an empathy and insight that will change forever the way we understand and act in relation to that world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Julie Callahan, victim of her father's sexual and physical abuse, suffers multiple personality disorder. Anthony Constantine, a paranoid schizophrenic, wrestles with tormenting voices whose power is reduced somewhat by the drug clozapine. Stan Gunter, a polyglot pianist, plunged four stories after he heard God commanding him to jump over a balcony; miraculously he survived. These are some of the residents of a group home for the mentally ill in Glen Cove, N.Y., the focus of this harrowing account by New York Times national educational correspondent Winerip. Having spent two years at the home on a daily basis, he makes us care deeply about these people, their crises and breakthroughs in therapy. Beginning with coverage of community protests that aimed to prevent the home from opening in 1987, this narrative highlights warring state and local agencies, funding cutbacks and bureaucratic snafus; in so doing, it exposes glaring weaknesses in the mental health system. (June)
Library Journal
Most people are not familiar with the idea of group homes for the mentally ill. Winerip, a correspondent for the New York Times, corrects the situation in this absorbing account of a group home in Glen Cove, Long Island. Particularly noteworthy are his portrayal of the politics involved in the fight to establish the home as well as his well-written case histories of five of the home's residents. According to Winerip, not only are group homes less expensive to operate than mental institutions, they have higher success rates. Contrary to popular opinion, these homes and their residents cause no harm to their host communities and should not be feared. This thorough, wonderfully written book will set the standard for future works on this overlooked subject. Highly recommended wherever demand warrants, especially in communities where group homes exist or are planned.-January Adams, ODSI Research Lib., Raritan, N.J.
William Beatty
This is primarily the story of the patients, counselors, families, health-care givers, neighbors, and politicians associated with a 12-resident home that opened in 1988 in the Long Island residential town of Glen Cove. A "New York Times" reporter with considerable experience of the mental health scene, especially group homes, Winerip camped out at the home during 1991-92. He shows how a well-run group home can overcome neighbors' objections and fears to become an integral part of a community. His characterizations of the counselors, who provide guidance, order, and stability day and night, as well as those of the patients, whose problems exemplify a variety of illnesses of widely varying degrees of severity, are sympathetic but unvarnished. Winerip chooses the story of one patient in particular--Julie Callahan, who suffers from a multiple-personality disorder involving 16 personae--to hold the book together, and throughout he cites cost figures for maintaining patients in such homes and in hospitals, and bits of the history of group homes in the U.S. and especially New York.
From the Publisher
"Captures the hypocrisy that seems to typify the way Americans have traditionally dealt with the mentally ill.... The best disguise for cruelty, you realize as you read this remarkable, persuasive book, is normality."

— New Yorker

"As in the works of Robert Coles or James Agee, the devastating evidence ... comes from Winerip's total immersion in his subject.... He brings ... a dramatist's or novelist's acute sensibilities to the page."

— Boston Globe

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307820501
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/04/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
852,530
File size:
2 MB

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