What is it really like to have a family member with serious mental illness? Sandra Allen’s unique book, A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story about Schizophrenia (Scribner, 2018), addresses this question. In the book, a hybrid between memoir and third-person narrative, Sandra publishes excerpts from her schizophrenic uncle’s autobiography interlaced with her own narrative about her uncle and his life. This poignant combination offers readers a rare, real-life glimpse into the mind and heart of a person with schizophrenia and what it feels like to be the relative of such a person. In our interview, Sandra candidly talks about what it was like to publish her uncle’s memoir, how her conception of him evolved, and the significant lessons she learned about living with schizophrenia. This book and our interview will speak to those who deal with, or have a loved one with, serious mental illness, inspiring compassion and hope where in an area where it is often lacking.
Sandra Allen is a nonfiction writer based in the Catskills and former BuzzFeed News features editor. Her essays and features stories have been published by BuzzFeed News, CNN Opinion, and Pop-Up Magazine. She also founded and ran the online-only literary quarterly Wag's Revue. Her work focuses on the past, present, and future of mental healthcare in America and on constructs of normalcy, including psychiatric disability and gender.
Eugenio Duarte, Ph.D. is a psychologist and psychoanalyst practicing in New York City and Miami. He treats individuals and couples, with specialties in gender and sexuality, eating and body image problems, and relationship issues. He is a graduate of the psychoanalytic training program at William Alanson White Institute, where he chairs their monthly LGBTQ Study Group. He is also a contributing author to the book Introduction to Contemporary Psychoanalysis: Defining Terms and Building Bridges (2018, Routledge).