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Little Boy Lost
David Peters, author
A memoir about a boy's journey after the suicide of his mother.
In this wrenching debut memoir, Peters catalogs the effects of his mother’s schizophrenia. The author begins in 1946 Tennessee with the wedding of his parents, Ben and Julia, and Julia’s diagnosis with schizophrenia when she was pregnant with her first son, Benjy. Ben struggled to keep a job while caring for his wife and son, and sometimes left Benjy with neighbors or relatives while he helped Julia manage her episodes. Despite the family’s struggles, two more sons—Tim and the author—followed. Certain drugs and treatments, including Thorazine and ECT, resulted in stretches of calm, but eventually, Julia’s illness always recurred, and she was in and out of psychiatric facilities throughout Peters’s childhood. In 1974, when Peters was 13, Julia died by suicide, causing the family to fracture. Despite their father’s emotional withdrawal, both the author and his brother, Tim, got into college with the help of their high school guidance counselor and pursued professional careers—Peters as an economist and CPA who eventually married and had two sons of his own. Peters’s style throughout is more perfunctory than artful, but his message of hope in the face of family tragedy is undeniably stirring. Readers will be moved. (Self-published)