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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
A Schizoid at Smith: How Overparenting Leads to Underachieving by Blair Sorrel is a memoir in which the author divulges to readers her childhood memories, family dynamics, and life with schizoid personality disorder. From the family's move to Belmont and the adjustment to an affluent suburban environment, Sorrel shares the difficulties faced and their impact on her academic journey. Sorrel discusses unconventional learning approaches, a strong connection to nature, and cultural observations, blending each with personal anecdotes, including her reflections on societal shifts during the 1960s. Written in a style that often feels conversational and usually comes across as a stream-of-consciousness narrative, Sorrel opens up and offers a glimpse into her journey of self-discovery, coping mechanisms, and unconventional interactions during a transformative period of her life.
The first word that comes to mind as I comb back over all the things that Blair Sorrell has shared in her raw and honest memoir is 'courageous.' Putting one's experiences out into the public domain takes a great deal of courage, and I cannot help but applaud Sorrel for doing this. This does not mean that the narrative is stiff and stodgy. On the contrary, Sorrel injects large quantities of humor and wit into her work, such as an incident involving a pharmaceutical promotional keychain, which is a testament to her ability to find humor in everyday situations. I absolutely loved all her pop culture references, like being drawn to Dark Shadows as a shared experience with other kids in the neighborhood, which prompted my own sense of nostalgia. Overall, A Schizoid at Smith is a well-written, intelligently candid, and accessible memoir, and I have no doubt it will touch all who read it. Very highly recommended.