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MeganMinor

RWW9,Class8
Mrs.Bartz
11/24/15
DearMrs.Bartz,
Recently,Ireadanonfictionalautobiographymemoircalled
JanuaryFirst
byMichael
Schofield.Iwouldratethisbookatenoutoftenbecauseofthedetailsportrayedinthelifeofa
familyafflictedwithhavingachildfacedwithschizophrenia.
ThestoryisaboutayounggirlnamedJanuary(Janni)PaigeSchofieldwhoisdiagnosed
withthecripplingdisease,schizophrenia.Itisherfathersaccountofwhatlifewaslikefor
Januaryandtheentirefamilybeforeandaftershewasdiagnosed.Formostofthestory,wehave
noideawhatistrulywrongwithJanni.Thefamilyonlyhasmerespeculationsfromseveraltop
rateddoctorstoexplainJannisabruptlychangingbehavior.Allweknowforcertainisthat
Janniisextremelyintelligentandthatherimaginaryfriends,suchasWednesdaytheratand400
thecat,aremorethanjustimaginarytoJanni.Theyarehallucinationsthatmakeherattackher
babybrother,hitherparents,almostcommitsuicide,andmanyotherunthinkableacts.Janni
believesthateventhoughthehallucinationsmakeherdoallthis,theyarestillherfriendsina
worldwheresheisgreatlymisunderstoodandalone.Sheisgoinginsane,andherfatherhasto
stopher.Michaelcannotacceptthathislittlegirlisbeyondhelp.Heisdeterminedtomakehis
daughterwellagainandgiveheranormallife,nomatterthecost.
Formorethanayear,IvewantedtoseetheenemyandIjustsawit.Thatwasntthe
behavior.SomethingtookcontrolofJannisbody,andwhenitwasgone,Janniwasleftwithno

ideawhathadhappened.Upuntilnow,therewasasmallpartofmethatwonderedifshecould
controlthis,butthereisnodoubtanymore.Itsnameisschizophrenia,andifshedoesntdowhat
itwants,itwillturnonyou,makingherhurtherself.(pg.240)
ThisisthemomentwhenMichaelfirstacceptedthathisdaughtercouldhavesucha
horriddisease.Forthedurationofthememoir,Michaelknowsthatthepossibilityofherhaving
schizophreniaisveryreal,buthehadalwayshopedthatthemoodswingsandattackswere
somethingthatJannicouldcontrol.NowherealizesJanniismerelyavictimtothe
hallucinations,andtheremayneverbeawayforhertocontrolthem.TheSchofieldfamilynow
hastodecidefromherewhattodowiththeirnewlydiagnosedschizophrenicdaughter.
Janniisthecentralcharacterinthestory.Sheisasweetyoungchildlostinaworldwhere
sheisconstantlybeinginfluencedandcontrolledbyherimaginaryfriends.Whensheisntbeing
forcedtodounthinkableactions,shelovesherfamilyandwantstoblendin,butthehorror
withinhermakesitimpossibletobenormal.ThemainantagonistlivesinsideJannimakingher
bothaprotagonistandanantagonistthroughoutthedurationofthenovel.
Schizophreniaisalmostitsowncharacterinthestory.Itistheantagonistthatlivesinside
ofJanni.Theschizophreniatakesforminherimaginaryfriends.Theschizophreniaisanew
breedofevil,becauseitinjurestheinnocentpeoplearounditself,includingitsownhost.Janni
seemstohavemultiplepersonalitiesbecauseasaperson,Janniiskindandloving,butoncethe
schizophreniatakesover,sheisawalkingnightmare.
Anotherimportantcharacteristhenarrator/Jannisfather,MichaelSchofield.Heisa
strong,determinedpersonwhowontletanythingoranyonehurthisbabygirl.Michaelfights

withhiswifeformuchofthestoryaboutwhattodowithJanni.ThisshowsMichaelsenduring
loveforJanni.Heisarolemodelforparentswhosekidssufferfromseverementalillnesses.
Myfavoritethemeinthebookistheideaoffacinganychallengelifegivesyou.The
Schofieldsobviouslyfaceseveralunthinkablechallengesthroughoutthestory,buttheyalways
managedtobeaunitedfrontagainstworldandtheSchizophrenia.TheynevergaveupwhichI
thinkisanimportantlifelessonforeveryone.Givingupandtakingtheeasyroadtemptedthis
family,butwhiletheSchofieldsfaithwavered,theynevertrulygaveuponJanni,whichIthink
isincredible.
Ithinkthisbookisfantastic!IlovethewayyouconnectwiththeSchofieldfamily
throughtheeyesofMichaelandhowdescriptiveheisaboutthestrugglesfacedby
schizophrenicsandtheirrelatives.ThisnovelreallyisoneofthebestbooksIveeverread.
Sincerely,
MeganMinor

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