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January First    by Michael Schofield order for
January First
by Michael Schofield
Order:  USA  Can
Broadway, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

January First by Michael Schofield, the father of January (Jani), tells the story of his daughter's descent into pure hell. Madness. He relates how it affected him, his wife Susan, their son Bodhi, and, yes, even their dog Honey.

At times heartbreaking. At other times there's anger - at the public school system; at the doctors who dismissed their pleas for help for their little girl; at the drugs that were given to Jani. At times, despair that this poor child and her family would suffer so. And no answers as to just what was the problem with this six-year-old who had an IQ of 149 probably would have gone higher but the tests given to her only went to 149. All these thoughts came to me as I read the poignant memories of the hell this family endured.

The old saying trials and tribulations doesn't even begin to describe what they all went through. While Michael and Susan often did not agree on Jani's meds or her schooling, or the institutions in which Jani was placed, their marriage remained firm. Their love for this brilliant child never wavered. Their determination to give her the life they felt she deserved kept them on track. And all the time, they never forgot their younger child - Bodhi. They always had to take into consideration how Jani was behaving and how it would affect their little boy.

Possibly I have overused the word hell in this review, but I simply cannot think of another word that would so aptly describe their passage through Jani's descent into a living hell. January First is a very hard book to read and one which will stay with you for a long time. It's told by Jani's father who is open and honest as to his own thoughts and actions - even when he felt he had reached the end of his rope.

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