Early one Tuesday morning John Brooks went to his teenage daughter's room to make sure she was getting up for school and found her room dark and neater than usual. Casey was gone but he found a note: "The car is parked at the Golden Gate Bridge. I'm sorry."
Several hours later a security video was found that showed Casey stepping off the bridge. Brooks spent months after Casey's suicide trying to understand what led his seventeen-year-old daughter to take her life. He examines Casey's journey from her abandonment at birth in Poland, to the orphanage where she lived for the first fourteen months of her life, to her adoption and life with John and his wife Erika in Northern California. He reads. He talks to Casey's friends, teachers, doctors, therapists, and other parents. He consults adoption experts, researchers, clinicians, attachment therapists, and social workers.
In The Girl Behind the Door: A Father's Quest to Understand His Daughter's Suicide, Brooks shares what he learned and asks, What did everyone miss? John's hope is that Casey's story, and what he discovered since her death, will help others. This important book is a wakeup call that parents, mental health professionals, and teens should read.
John Brooks, a former senior financial executive in the broadcast and media industry, has turned to writing, mental health activism, and volunteer work with teenagers in Marin County, California. He also maintains a blog at ParentingandAttachment.com, to share his experience and educate other adoptive families about parenting and therapy techniques unique to children with attachment issues. The Girl Behind the Door, winner of the 2015 Benjamin Franklin Parenting Award for Parenting and Family issues, is his first book.