I've been a member of the From Left To Write Book Club for a while. It has consistently been one of my favorite online communities and has inspired what I feel are some of my best posts on this blog. And, oh yeah, we get to read a great list of diverse books... Except I didn't read this one. The point of the book club is not to write reviews of books, but to allow the book to inspire a post. And though I didn't read January First by Michael Shofield, it inspired this post.
Being a mom changes something in you. Every four year old is as innocent as your own. Difficult stories, diagnoses, painful experiences all take on a new layer of severity. It could be your child. What would you do if it were? How would you survive? These thoughts now touch me deeply. They reach deep down to a place of emotion I didn't even know was there before I became a mom.
I signed up to read January First with some hesitance. The story begs me to read it. But, I was conflicted about whether it would be good timing with being as pregnant as I am these days. Take this line from the cover, for instance: A Child's Descent Into Madness and Her Father's Struggle to Save Her... Might not be in the best interest of my emotions to read that book right now, said my inner mom voice.
But, my reader voice encouraged me to open it and give it a chance. Go read the description of the book. Looks fascinating, right? But, should I read a father's memoir about his young daughter's struggle with severe schizophrenia? I received the book, turned it over, read the back and was torn. Then I talked to my BFF, who knows me all too well, and encouraged me to put the book aside and read it later.
I was torn. I was dying to read the story, but it scared the hell out of me. And, ultimately, I decided to skip the book and protect myself. I made a choice as a mom and a reader. I love reading. I treasure books. Being a reader is a big part of who I am, but I allowed my mom voice to speak a little louder to me this time.
One day I'll read this book. But, for now it's going to sit on my bookshelf waiting for me to get through the next seven weeks of pregnancy and those first few emotional weeks of having an infant. Then my reader voice will be heard.
How far would you go to advocate for your child? In January First, father Michael Shofield and his family struggle to find the right treatment for his daughter Jani, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at six years old. Join From Left to Write on September as we discuss the Shofield's memoir January First. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.