In an idyllic Los Angeles neighborhood, where generations of families enjoy deep roots in old homes, the O’Rourke family fits right in. Miriam and Craig are both artists and their four children carry on the legacy. When their teenage son, Nick, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, a tumultuous decade... more
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In an idyllic Los Angeles neighborhood, where generations of families enjoy deep roots in old homes, the O’Rourke family fits right in. Miriam and Craig are both artists and their four children carry on the legacy. When their teenage son, Nick, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, a tumultuous decade ensues in which the family careens permanently off the conventional course.
Like the ten Biblical plagues, they are hit by one catastrophe after another, violence, evictions, arrests, a suicide attempt, a near-drowning…even cancer and a brain tumor…play against the backdrop of a wild teenage bacchanal of artmaking and drugs. With no time for hand-wringing, Miriam advances, convinced she can fix everything, while a devastated Craig retreats to their property in rural Washington State as home becomes a battlefield.
It is while cleaning out a closet, that Miriam discovers a cache of drawings and journals written by Nick throughout his spiral into schizophrenia. She begins a solitary forensic journey into the lonely labyrinth of his mind.
This is the story of how mental illness unspools an entire family. As Miriam fights to reclaim her son from the ruthless, invisible enemy, we are given an unflinching view into a world few could imagine. It exposes the shocking shortfalls of our mental health system, the destructive impact of stigma, shame and isolation, and, finally, the falsity of the notion of a perfect family. Throughout the book, it is the family’s ability to find humor in the absurdities of this life that saves them. It is a parable that illustrates the true definition of a good life, allowing for the blemishes and mistakes that are part of the universal human condition. He Came In With It is the legacy of, and for, her son Nick.
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Miriam Feldman is an artist, writer, and mental health activist who splits her time between her Los Angeles studio and her farm in rural Washington state. She has been married to her husband Craig...more
A cleansing narrative that should inspire mothers—and other caregivers—to rise up, unite, and breathe hot new life into the drooping cause of mental healthcare reform.Ron Powers, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author
“We watched Miriam become a five-star general in a war against the insidious adversary which threatened to claim the life of her Beautiful Boy. In He Came in With It, she shows us the way through an unimaginable terror to the light of hope. She is our Hero.”LaTanya and Samuel L. Jackson, actors
“Captivating, moving, and masterfully wrought, Miriam Feldman’s story invites us inside the most intimate of worlds: a family’s heart and soul. While our journey is not without discomfort, it is also full of humor, joy, love, and inspiration. I marvel at the resiliency of the human spirit revealed in this brilliant memoir; He Came In With It is a redemption story for the ages."Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain
"An excellent choice for book clubs seeking meaningful conversation about mental health, and for public libraries collecting resources for caregivers.”Library Journal
“A compelling and moving account of a mother's coming to terms with her son's schizophrenia, at times hopeful about her son and at times despairing. No one understands as well as a fellow sufferer and this book will be a source of understanding, strength and hope for the families of a person with schizophrenia. A really powerful book.”Elyn Saks, author of the best-selling autobiography The Center Cannot Hold
“Miriam Feldman’s He Came in With It blazes open the heart of motherhood with devastating honesty and dazzling beauty. This book is about what lives between a mother and son who struggle to navigate mental illness. Turns out what lives there is heart and art, messy, chaotic, traumatic and breathtakingly beautiful. I would follow Miriam anywhere. She is a heart warrior and an art mother who shows us how to endure, and thrive.”Lidia Yuknavitch, national bestselling author of The Chronology of Water
“Miriam Feldman has written the most powerful, honest, and poetic memoir about how mental illness decimates entire families, and yet, I closed ‘He Came In With It” filled with a surprising amount of grace and real hope that this book will ignite a revolution among mothers who care for someone with a mental illness. Read it, share it, praise it. It’s that good.”Sheila Hamilton, author of All the Things We Never Knew, Chasing the Chaos of Mental Illness
“He Came in With It is a profoundly moving and important book. Like almost everyone in America, Jay and I have dealt with mental illness in our extended family. The pervasiveness of this problem is belied by people’s reluctance to speak about it. With great courage and humility (and humor!), Miriam Feldman takes it head on, bringing us into the hidden world of mental illness that is crying for the light of day. You will never forget this book.”Mavis Leno, philanthropist, feminist and chair of the Feminist Majority’s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan
“At its heart, Miriam Feldman’s stunning memoir is a war story. One of indefatigable heroism... artfully told with raw and unmitigated honesty. At once heartbreaking, cathartic and startlingly funny, He Came in With It thoroughly redefines our conception of unconditional love.”Tony Shalhoub, actor
To know that you are not alone in this loneliest and most emotionally difficult of all family situations is a great gift, a comfort and source of strength. And Mimi Feldman is the one you want as your mentor, your guide.Janet Fitch, New York Times bestselling author of White Oleander
A compelling, moving story. . . . It was an honor to read it.Jenny Allen, author of Would Everyone Please Stop
“He Came in With It blew my mind. It is an unflinching portrait of an artistic family rocked by mental illness and brought back together by love. This book is a brave undertaking and an incredibly important story that Miriam Feldman has gifted the world.”Nat Wolff, actor Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars and The Naked Brother’s Band
So compelling! I couldn’t stop reading.Patricia Heaton, actor Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle
Absolutely brilliant and full of humanity and (thankfully) hope.Polly Draper, actor, writer and director