At age six, January ("Jani") Schofield was diagnosed with one of the most severe cases of child-onset schizophrenia on record. Hallucinating constantly, she is at the mercy of her imaginary friends--some of whom are friendly, while others tell her to scream at strangers, jump out of buildings, and attack her baby brother. Jani is torn between two places: "Calalini," the illusory home of her imaginary friends, and our world. When potent psychiatric drugs that would level most adults barely faze her, the line dividing delirium from reality grows dangerously blurry.
Amid Jani's struggle are her parents, who face seemingly insurmountable obstacles daily just to keep both of their children alive and safe. Their battle has included a two-year search for answers, countless medications and hospitalizations, allegations of abuse, despair that almost broke the family apart and, finally, victories against the illness and a new faith that they can create a happy life for Jani.
A passionate and inspirational account, "January First" is a father's soul-bearing memoir of the daily challenges and unwavering commitment to save his daughter from the edge of insanity while doing everything he can to keep his family together.
Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader's guide and bonus content.
About the Author
MICHAEL SCHOFIELD has an MA in English and teaches writing courses online for California State University at Northridge. He and his wife, Susan, are co-founders of the Jani Foundation. Michael lives with his family in Valencia, California.
“[Schofield’s] memoir is a wrenching, heroic narrative about a dad descending into his daughter's world to pull her back, finally, into his own.” —People
"January’s story is one of redemption, of resilience, of a family coming together in spite of all to rally for a difficult, special girl."
—New York Post
"In his memoirs January First, Michael Schofield chronicles his family's experience with [a] devastating mental illness, which usually presents itself at least a decade later."
—Daily Mail (UK)
“Imagine invisible demons that attack your beautiful child. But this is no nightmare, and no supernatural fantasy. The demons are real, and they come from inside her own mind. The story of January Schofield, diagnosed at six with childhood schizophrenia. is told by her father, Michael, with a father's tenderness, a novelist's consciousness, and a knight's grace. We can hold our breath and pray, but not look away. This modern parable may be the most compelling book you will ever read.”
—Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean
“January First is a riveting and compelling-and also quite painful--story of a father’s efforts to help his young daughter find a place for herself in this world in the face of a serious mental illness. Schofield gives a glimpse inside the mind of a child who lives much of her life in another world, interacting with "friends" who are only in her mind. Schofield takes us on his journey with Jani, starting with his thoughts that Jani is simply a misunderstood genius to recognition that something is really wrong, to the ultimate diagnosis of schizophrenia, a very serious mental illness, even more so when it manifests in a child. Schofield and his wife never give up. Their dedication and steadfastness are inspirational. Their story will be highly valued by the many families with a child with mental illness-indeed, by the many families who have any kind of struggle with their kids. The book ends on a hopeful note with Jani in a better place, yet we recognize that the battle is likely not over.”
—Elyn Saks, MacArthur Grant Recipient and author of The Center Cannot Hold
"An unflinching portrait of the scourge of mental illness." —Kirkus Reviews
"In this dramatic memoir, Schofield...explains the mental illness of his young daughter...offers valuable insight for others in similar situations, and ends on a hopeful note." —Publishers Weekly