NAMI Bookshelf: August 2009
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We Mad Climb Shaky Ladders
by Pamela Spiro Wagner, CavenKerry Press (2009)
This is an exceptional book—more than a collection of poems. Pamela Spiro Wagner is the co-author of Divided Minds: Twin Sisters and their Journey through Schizophrenia (2006), written with her psychiatrist sister which won an NAMI Outstanding Media Award for Literature.
In this latest work, each poem is presented with a commentary by Wagner’s psychiatrist, Mary B. O’Malley, M.D., Ph.D. For example, the poem Repeat Offender is preceded by the explanation "Pam’s trips to the ER brought fears of being judged, tortured and overwhelmed by noise and harsh treatment." The collection is divided into five sections, covering Wagner’s childhood, earliest indications of her illness, recovery, coping and new beginnings. Family relationships are constant themes.