This Year's "Ken Book Awards" Winners


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By Daniel Frey

This year's fourth annual "Ken Book Award" breakfast was held, again thanks to Patricia Cliff, NAMI National Board Member and NYC Voices Editorial Board Member, to raise money for the Kenneth Johnson Memorial Research library at NAMI NYC Metro, a great resource for anyone researching anything in the area of mental health. All authors were awarded for their books that dealt with mental health/mental illness in one way or other. This year's winners were:

(1) Uphill Walkers by Madeleine Blais, a memoir and sibling account of mental illness. Blais displays total candor in describing growing up in an Irish-Catholic family in rural Massachusetts. The description of her eldest brother, Raymond, who from an early age was observed to be mentally ill was especially touching.

(2) Ladder 35, Engine 40 by Juliana Lee Hatkoff and Craig M. Hatkoff is the true story of seven-year-old Juliana Lee Hatkoff's attempt to cope with her feelings about September 11th. Juliana deals with her anxiety by deciding to help out by bringing her piggy bank to the local firehouse. The firefighter invites Juliana to join him on the Verrazano Bridge to start this year's marathon, where she discovers that life after September 11th will, in fact, go on.

(3) Q. The Autobiography of Quincy Jones is a story of life, love, the pursuit of multi-entertainment dreams, wives, lovers, children, immoral exploits of the heart, busting racial barriers in the entertainment industry, the highs, lows, personal triumphs, and tragedies, including double brain surgery and nervous breakdown.

(4) Behind the Smile, My Journey Out of Postpartum Depression by Marie Osmond with Marcia Wilkie and Dr. Judith Moore is a story about Marie Osmond who seemed to be living what seemed to be the picture-perfect life. She was beautiful, talented, happily married, co-hosting the successful Donny and Marie Show, and pregnant with her seventh child. But something went wrong that would send her on a tearful flight away from her home and make national headlines. What went wrong was postpartum depression.

(5) The Noonday Demon, An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon is a riveting chronicle of depression, which covers the author's own harrowing experience, as well as the accounts of numerous others. Days are composed of moments that alternate wildly between oppressive feelings of anxiety and irrational fear; more manageable, but equally inescapable, malaise; haunting memories of past pleasures and pain; inexplicable grief; even moments with hope for recovery, or at least, remission-each mood rendered with skill enough to engross the reader in Solomon's agonizing ordeal.

(6) Sometimes Madness is Wisdom-Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald, a Marriage by Kendall Taylor presents a view of the most important literary couple of the 20s and 30s. You may be familiar with F. Scott Fitzgerald's most famous work The Great Gatsby, which seriously examines the theme of ambition in an American setting, defining the classic American novel. The title of this book comes from Zelda's own title for an exhibition of her art in New York in 1934, most of the work having been done while she was being treated for mental illness in several private sanitariums in Maryland and New York.


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