Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Reading stuff

In the summer, I read a story in the LA Times about a little girl who was diagnosed with Childhood Onset Schizophrenia, a very rare (disease? condition?) diagnosis in children. I'm not going to link to it. You can find it quite easily. Anyway, I read the article, and was impressed by the writing, and how the disturbing subject matter was handled. It made me extremely sad, but curious about the topic. And I hoped there would be future updates or features on the little girl (there have been, but not many).

Then, while I was visiting my mom on Monday, we were watching Oprah, and she did a whole show on the little girl the article was about, and interviewed the little girl, her parents, and the author of the LA Times story. It turns out this was a re-run, but the original ran just a couple of months ago.

I was disappointed: Oprah provided nothing that the LA Times story didn't say. She brought nothing to the story but herself, and this is why I am not a fan. But, seeing the show and re-reading the article got me to thinking about the little girl again, and that lead to a Google search, and that lead to me finding her dad's blog.

I read a lot of it it, until it kind of started feeling very exploitative. It's seriously a very raw journal, the full-on "truth" (truth in quotes because that's what he says it is, but how can we know?), and it's rough reading. He writes some very scary things about his past, his own mental health issues, wanting to kill himself, about his relationship with his wife, and about his daughter. To be honest, as I kept reading, I thought, this guy wants to be famous. He must be writing one of those memoirs like "A Million Little Pieces" where the author writes the most horrible stuff about himself and gets rich and famous from it. I'm no longer interested in this type of book (Augusten Burroughs, Dave Eggers... thanks but no thanks). He admits that he's writing a book (and boy I hope he gets an editor. He needs one). The parts that are purely about him were the least interesting things to read (sorry, dude). I am really only interested in the story of the little girl. It's another example of figuring out when too much is too much. I feel very sorry for this little girl: she will probably never have a normal life. Her parents have made decisions that probably mean that they too will never have normal lives. I read a few other blogs that comment on the story, and I read the comments on the father's blog, and most people were either sympathetic or judgmental. I'm not judging - I don't know anything about mental illness or parenting, and I'm definitely not qualified to make any pronouncements on anything related to this story except to say that it affected me, a lot.

I don't know why.

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