This book is a series of elevenstories as remembered by the author from his time working on a psychiatric ward. He describes the dementia ward and its inhabitant, a patient who cuts herself to relieve anxiety, a schizophrenic homeless patient, depression, anti-social personality disorder, self-harm, bipolar disorder, suicidal tendencies, and more. The emphasis throughout these stories is on the dignity of human beings and how we should recognize that those who have mental illnesses as people with illness rather than subjects of ridicule and disparagement.

Why should I read this book?

While students as young as fourth grade could read the majority of the words, my guess is that middle schoolers and high schoolers would be emotionally mature enough to get more out of this book. This would work well in both a classroom and school library. While there probably isn’t enough material in this quick read for it to sustain a whole-class focus, it would work well as a resource to extend the knowledge of any students who are intrigued by psychopathology.

Who is this book best for?

This book is best suited to high school students and could be used productively in connection with any high school psychology course. Art classes might also appreciate Cunningham's style.

There is some reference to feces and there is also some violence.

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