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Because I come from a crazy family : the making of a psychiatrist / Edward M. Hallowell.

By: Hallowell, Edward M.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York, New York : Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018Copyright date: ©2018Description: 406 pages : genealogical table ; 25 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781632868589; 163286858X; 9781632868596; 1632868598.Subject(s): Hallowell, Edward M. -- Mental health | Hallowell, Edward M. -- Childhood and youth | Psychiatrists -- Biography | Psychotherapists -- United States -- Biography | Dysfunctional families -- BiographyGenre/Form: Autobiographies.DDC classification: 616.80092 Summary: When Edward M. Hallowell was eleven, a voice out of nowhere told him he should become a psychiatrist. A mental health professional of the time would have called this psychosis. But young Edward (Ned) took it in stride, despite not quite knowing what "psychiatrist" meant. With a psychotic father, alcoholic mother, abusive stepfather, and two so-called learning disabilities of his own, Ned was accustomed to unpredictable behavior from those around him, and to a mind he felt he couldn't always control. The voice turned out to be right. Now, decades later, Hallowell is a leading expert on attention disorders and the author of twenty books, including Driven to Distraction, the work that introduced ADD to the world. In Because I Come from a Crazy Family, he tells the often strange story of a childhood marked by what he calls the "WASP triad" of alcoholism, mental illness, and politeness, and explores the wild wish, surging beneath his incredible ambition, that he could have saved his own family of drunk, crazy, and well-intentioned eccentrics, and himself.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

From the bestselling author of the classic book on ADD, Driven to Distraction , a memoir of the strange upbringing that shaped Dr. Edward M. Hallowell's celebrated career.

When Edward M. Hallowell was eleven, a voice out of nowhere told him he should become a psychiatrist. A mental health professional of the time would have called this psychosis. But young Edward (Ned) took it in stride, despite not quite knowing what "psychiatrist" meant. With a psychotic father, alcoholic mother, abusive stepfather, and two so-called learning disabilities of his own, Ned was accustomed to unpredictable behavior from those around him, and to a mind he felt he couldn't always control.

The voice turned out to be right. Now, decades later, Hallowell is a leading expert on attention disorders and the author of twenty books, including Driven to Distraction , the work that introduced ADD to the world. In Because I Come from a Crazy Family , he tells the often strange story of a childhood marked by what he calls the "WASP triad" of alcoholism, mental illness, and politeness, and explores the wild wish, surging beneath his incredible ambition, that he could have saved his own family of drunk, crazy, and well-intentioned eccentrics, and himself.

Because I Come from a Crazy Family is an affecting, at times harrowing, ultimately moving memoir about crazy families and where they can lead, about being called to the mental health profession, and about the unending joys and challenges that come with helping people celebrate who they are.

A portion of the author's proceeds of this book will go to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

When Edward M. Hallowell was eleven, a voice out of nowhere told him he should become a psychiatrist. A mental health professional of the time would have called this psychosis. But young Edward (Ned) took it in stride, despite not quite knowing what "psychiatrist" meant. With a psychotic father, alcoholic mother, abusive stepfather, and two so-called learning disabilities of his own, Ned was accustomed to unpredictable behavior from those around him, and to a mind he felt he couldn't always control. The voice turned out to be right. Now, decades later, Hallowell is a leading expert on attention disorders and the author of twenty books, including Driven to Distraction, the work that introduced ADD to the world. In Because I Come from a Crazy Family, he tells the often strange story of a childhood marked by what he calls the "WASP triad" of alcoholism, mental illness, and politeness, and explores the wild wish, surging beneath his incredible ambition, that he could have saved his own family of drunk, crazy, and well-intentioned eccentrics, and himself.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

When asked for the umpteenth time, during the interview process for psychiatric internships after medical school, why he was interested in becoming a psychiatrist, Hallowell (Driven to Distraction) finally admitted the truth: "Because I come from a crazy family." The author, who went on to become a guru to the ADD/ADHD community, here provides not only a memoir of his journey to academic and professional success but a family portrait that is part Cheever (the painfully polite but often mentally ill and alcoholic, New England branch) and part Faulkner (a Southern gothic interlude in Charleston, SC, is marked by horrific behavior exhibited by an enigmatic, occasionally drunk stepfather). In this readable narrative, Hallowell presents an unvarnished account of his learning challenges and the forces and faith that supported him during the years of turmoil preceding his accomplishments as a pioneering psychiatrist. VERDICT Hallowell's many followers will seek out this account. Those unfamiliar with his work will find much to appreciate and absorb in his clear-eyed retelling of a life path that easily could have gone a different way.-Therese Purcell Nielsen, Huntington P.L., NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Psychiatrist Hallowell (Driven to Distraction) handily illustrates in this entertaining memoir the adage that people go into psychiatry because they want to understand themselves and their families. Hallowell grew up in the Boston area in a family afflicted by the "triad of alcoholism, politesse, and mental illness." His father, who was later diagnosed as bipolar, wasn't the same after he returned from WWII with PTSD, his mother was an alcoholic, and his brother suffered from bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Hallowell fondly recalls studying at Exeter, where he embraced creative writing and developed a love of literature; his heady days at Harvard; and his years in medical school at Tulane. After he decided to specialize in child psychiatry, he learned about ADD and eventually established himself as an expert in the disorder. Hallowell asserts that he works on himself morally and spiritually and believes that he has achieved a "fairly good outcome as far as character is concerned." While the narrative moves too quickly at times, Hallowell is earnest in his assessments about his search for his life's calling. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

For any child the question, What will I be when I grow up?, leads to stock answers based in fantasy and wishful thinking. At 11, Hallowell (Driven to Distraction at Work, 2015) living near Boston with a father suffering from bipolar disorder, a mother who drank to cope, an older brother destined down the same path, and a host of relatives in varying states of depression proclaimed that he would be a psychiatrist, though he knew nothing about what that entailed. Following an abrupt divorce, the family moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where his mother gave in to alcoholism, and his stepfather engaged in violent drunken outbursts toward him and, especially, his mother. By the saving grace of his grandmother, Hallowell was enrolled at Exeter, which propelled him to Harvard, on the path toward medical school at Tulane, where a talent for writing helped him become one of the foremost voices in the field of ADD studies. Written in short chapters, Hallowell's memoir unfolds in a humorous manner that entertains and enlightens.--Ruzicka, Michael Copyright 2018 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

A psychiatrist reflects on his childhood and the family members who struggled with mental health issues.In this sympathetic memoir, psychiatrist Hallowell (CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD, 2006, etc.) creates a memorable portrait of his younger self in relation to the colorful and often troubled family members who influenced his personal and professional development, several of whom dealt with alcoholism and/or mental illness, including both his parents and one of his brothers. A defining event of his early childhood occurred after his parents divorced and his mother remarried a charming but unstable man who had a violent drinking problem that surfaced after they moved from their familiar Cape Cod home to North Carolina. Though traumatized by this disruption within his family, Hallowell had the good fortune and family means to attend private boarding schools, where he excelled in his studies and expanded his social life. Through continued effort, he went on to attend medical school. In the latter portion of the narrative, the author touched on his internships and eventual practice, devoting much attention to stories of his patients. For the most part, Hallowell is a generous and lively storyteller, and he shares inspiring insights into his family and the patients he has treated. Yet he is surprisingly less forthcoming about tackling his own issues or feelings. "The price I paid is that I carry a lot of sadness inside me," he writes. "But that also gives me a deeper understanding of other people's sadness that lectures and books can't provide." His narrative lacks a driving momentum or evolving tension to grab readers' imaginations. Compared to other writers whose memoirs address similar issues of familial dysfunctionMary Karr and Tobias Wolff come to mindHallowell's approach feels passive. He has a warm, reassuring voice, but readers may feel that there wasn't enough at stake.An affectionate, well-meaning memoir of how a psychiatrist gained empathy through his family's troubled lives. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.