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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Silent Voices by Debbie Nau Redmond takes readers into the world of mental illness. Debbie is a teenager, full of life and hope of what high school will bring. She is the youngest child of a very large family. The Nau family is devoted, caring, your average middle class family. Surrounded by the beauty and tranquility of the Colorado Mountains, one would think their life was perfection. However, an unseen disastrous world awaits them. After Debbie’s brother, Ricky, is dishonorably discharged from the Navy, he returns acting very strangely. Ricky’s coming home changes all of their lives forever. Debbie shares the tragedy, the fear, the stigma, the guilt, and the continual uncertainty of living with a brother diagnosed with schizophrenia. This disease not only manipulates the minds of its victims, it leaves a trail of collateral damage in its wake.
Debbie Nau Redmond openly shares her memories in her memoir Silent Voices. This narrative brings awareness to the world of mental illness. It gives a firsthand account of how schizophrenia attacks its victims and the disruption it causes within the family dynamic. My father was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic in the early 1970s. It was very easy for me to relate and empathize with Redmond’s story. She shares pivotal moments in time, as if they were yesterday. But, she also mentions that some memories are blurred due to the trauma. Redmond educates the reader about mental illness. She is bold and candid as she reveals the emotional upheaval of her family. When living with a schizophrenic, everyone suffers. This is an amazing story of family devotion. Silent Voices is an account of tragedy, forgiveness, and restoration. Debbie Nau Redmond honors her family by sharing their story.