Reis Welling is a young and handsome college professor at Cornell who has found great success in his career and social life—that is until his insidious decent into the vicious and damaging world of mental illness. As past and present events are seamlessly woven together, hopeful acceptance and the reality of living life after a diagnosis of schizophrenia ultimately being to prevail. The book's rich characters supply various perspectives of living with mental illness, including a firsthand look at the personal struggles of Reis and the raw emotions of those who love him.
An active board member of the Syracuse chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Karen Winters Schwartz recently spoke at the NAMI Syracuse Educational Conference, the NAMI New York State Conference, NAMI Champlain Valley's annual meeting, the NAMI LA Conference, and the NAMI Summit in Cleveland. Fresh off radio interviews with Tish Pearlman of Out of Bounds (NPR) and Eric Sorenson of WAUB Auburn, Winters Schwartz is scheduled to speak at the NAMI national conference in Seattle later this month.
What makes Winters Schwartz's novels on mental illness different is the fact that she feeds firsthand off the derailment of her own family by mental illness and expertly hones in on how ignorance and lack of support make the journey to recovery all the more difficult—having distinctly experienced this herself. Her real life ordeals lend a fierce degree of credibility to her storytelling, threading it with organic legitimacy and inner knowledge on the devastating effects of mental illness, both on self and family. Through her literature, including her widely acclaimed first novel, Where Are the Cocoa Puffs?: A Family's Journey Through Bipolar Disorder, Karen educates while entertaining, elicits empathy while telling a great story, and advocates by reaching those who just don't "get it."
Reis's Pieces: Love, Loss, and Schizophrenia is available from all major booksellers.