Review: Mind Without a Home by Kristina Morgan

I’m part of the blog tour for Kristina Morgan’s Mind Without a Home: A Memoir of Schizophrenia. Thanks to TLC Book Tours for supplying me with a review copy. This tour began September 30 and finishes up November 1; be sure to check out the complete tour schedule and read the reviews posted on other stops for other perspectives!

Title: Mind Without a Home: A Memoir of Schizophrenia
Author: Kristina Morgan
Publisher: Hazelden
Released: September 3, 2013
Source: publisher (TLC Book Tours)

Synopsis (from publisher):

Experience the inner world of a woman with schizophrenia in this brutally honest, lyrical memoir. Have you ever wondered what it is like in the mind of a person with Schizophrenia? How can one survive day after day unable to distinguish between one’s inner nightmares and the everyday realities that most of us take for granted?

In her brutally honest, highly original memoir, Kristina Morgan takes us inside her head to experience the chaos, fragmented thinking, and the startling creativity of the schizophrenic mind. With the intimacy of private journal-like entries and the language of a poet, she carries us from her childhood to her teen years when hallucinations began to hijack her mind and into adulthood where she began abusing alcohol to temper the punishing voices that only she could hear.

This is no formulaic tale of tragedy and triumph: We feel Kristina’s hope as she pursues an education and career and begins to build strong family connections, friendships and intimacy—and her devastation as the insistent voices convince her to throw it all away, destroying herself and alienating everyone around her. Woven through the pages of her life are stories of recovery from alcoholism and the search for her sexual identity in relationships with both women and men. Eventually, her journey takes her to a place of relative peace and stability where she finds the inner resources and support system to manage her chronic illnesses and live a fulfilling life.

While reading Mind Without a Home, I couldn’t help but think of all the over-the-top, even negative, Hollywood portrayals of mental illness. I knew those were likely a distorted version of reality, but I still wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened this memoir.

Things had a tendency to get terribly scattered and confusing throughout the book, seemingly out of order. The author often switched between calling her mother and father by their first names, or Mom and Dad, or Mother and Father – sometimes changing within the same paragraph. I found myself wondering if I’d missed a backstory along the way. Portions felt out of place, or odd, and just confusing. I think this is just the way her mind processes and remembers events in her life.

Regardless, this is a memoir. This is her story, a triumphant one at that. Morgan is certainly a creative type, with a flair for dramatic wording. Sometimes the narrative seemed to focus more around Morgan’s family, almost putting schizophrenia on the back burner. I think many of my lukewarm feelings about the book come from not clicking with her writing style, but I’m still glad to have read it. Morgan tells her story in a openly raw, honest way and offers readers a personal and realistic glimpse into the mind of a schizophrenic. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.