Reviews for
When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia


4 out of 5 stars Great read!, August 18, 2012
By Great read - This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Paperback)
What a gritty, real portrayal of mental illness. The characters became completely alive to me, and I can't stop thinking about them. Had read Reis' Pieces by Karen Schwartz right before - what a stark difference. Her book is mental illness through more optimistic colored lenses. How different to see the man in the trenches viewpoint vs. the advocate glorified eye's view.


5 out of 5 stars When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia, August 6, 2012
By Jean - This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Kindle Edition)
I thought I knew something about schizophrenia until I read Terry Garahan's book When Truth Lies. Garahan's experience and expertise in working with patients in the mental health system make Kevin a real and lovable character. I didn't know what to expect when I started reading but each chapter was a new phase of learning for me as Kevin moves through his life. My question when I finished was when is the sequel going to be ready so I can see how Kevin makes out. I have a whole new understanding and I must say respect for people who are struggling within the mental health system to remain "normal".


5 out of 5 stars When Truth Lies, June 3, 2012
By kfmoocow - This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Paperback)
Terry Garahan writes a perfect illustration of Schizophrenia. This book was hard to put down becasue it seemed like you where right there with the characters. Good book, good reading. thank you!!


5 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this book!, February 11, 2012
By Emma - This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Paperback)

Considering the heavy nature of the subject matter, "When Truth Lies" is a surprisingly fast and engrossing read. In Kevin, Garahan has written a protagonist that is simultaneously disturbing and completely relatable. However, the greatest strength of this book lies in Garahan's ability to illustrate the inner thought processes of Kevin's mind in a hauntingly vivid and real way. I felt invested in both the story and the characters, and while I have little understanding of the complexities of schizophrenia, if anything, this book just made me realize how little most of us probably understand.
A truly wonderful book.


5 out of 5 stars Perfect for book club, February 6, 2012
By Mary - This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Paperback)

The author creates 3-dimensional characters, bringing them to life with authentic voice. Thank you for shedding light on this often silent struggle that touches so many families. This would be a great book club pick.


4 out of 5 stars February 2, 2012
National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from
(800) 950-NAMI; ©2012
Book Review: When Truth Lies: A Journey With Schizophrenia by Terry Garahan
Louis Publishing Group (2011), $11.99

By Doug Bradley, NAMI Information & Referral Assistant

This novel is an honest and at times raw description of living with schizophrenia. When Truth Lies, while a work of fiction, realistically portrays the onset of schizophrenia in a young man, the response of society to his behaviors, his often contentious relationship to the mental health system, and his long term coping with his illness.

At the novel's beginning in 1967, Kevin has just graduated from high school in upstate New York. While Kevin is experiencing some mental discomfort, such as feeling that classmates are looking at him like they know something secret about him, these feelings do not get in the way of his finishing school. Nor do they interfere with his helping his father's construction business and having his first romance, although the intrusive thoughts and voices do make life increasingly difficult.

As the book progresses, Kevin joins the army but gets discharged due to his behavior. He then goes to work on a commune where he is hailed as a visionary until he frightens the hippies he works with. Incoherent, unable to get out of his bed and soiling his pants, Kevin is abandoned at an emergency room by the people who had preached universal love and charity. The leader of the commune believed that "society was mad, not the people in it." Nonetheless, the commune people wash their hands of Kevin who enters the state psychiatric system.

The description of hospital life is also unflinching. From doctors who try to help but are often naïve to those who are downright cruel, from staff who are marking time until their retirement to those who are kind and could get better paying jobs elsewhere but for some reason stay on, the good and the bad are shown.

Another subject the book does not shy away from is sex and its complications, particularly for someone with mental illness. When Truth Lies shows how individuals in institutions experience relationships, whether consensual, inappropriate, or downright predatory, with other patients and staff members. While these passages may be discomforting to some readers, this is an aspect of institutional life that happens but is not often discussed.

The book also deals with Kevin living on the streets outside the hospital. While this portion of the book is no doubt familiar and painful to family members, it is enlightening for how some individuals living with mental illness experience everyday reality and life on the streets.

I have two quibbles with When Truth Lies. The first is that the setting and treatments (e.g. the large state hospital, the medicines) seem dated. While some individuals with mental illness still in large institutions and older medicines are used, the picture now is more varied. I don't mean to imply that everything is better, just that there are (in theory) more options now for consumers and families. Some of the characters could have been more fully drawn, but this is a minor complaint.

When Truth Lies goes beyond bland clinical terms and describes in detail what many people go through. This book puts a human face, and an often uncomfortable one, on severe mental illness and the treatment system.


4 out of 5 stars Insights into a different world, January 31, 2012
By Lucy Keeler -This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Paperback)

I wondered whether this novel would hold my attention, whether a focus on schizophrenia would make it difficult to construct plot and character strong enough to keep me engaged. This wasn't the case! I found myself wanting to move on, find out what happened next, see how things unfolded. The experience of schizophrenia was made 'real' for me, giving great insight into how life is for people with the condition. Behaviours that appear bizarre can be perfectly 'sane' and rational when I understand the reasons for them.

There's an interesting portrayal of the mental health system - how long-term service users can be impacted as enthusiasms and fashions in treatment come and go; how 'experts' can be part of the 'problem', or 'taken in', or forget that what they see isn't the whole picture; and how judgments about ethical / unethical or healthy / unhealthy may not be clear cut.

At the end, I loved the way two stories of suffering were brought together. Fundamental change isn't always possible, but there's a glimpse of a way forward, a reminder that we're all 'experts' in our own stories, have something to offer one another...


5 out of 5 stars An insight into a rarely seen life, January 22, 2012
By Vivian M. Cunningham - This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Paperback)

Terry Garahan takes the reader into the life of a person living with schizophrenia. It is a compelling story as the reader comes to the understanding of the tragedy of the diagnosis of schizophrenia for the person, family and community. Terry weaves into the story his extensive experiences working with people with schizophrenia and their families bringing the story a reality often not found with such a difficult topic. It is a must read but plan on devoting a chunk of time to it because you will not be able to put the book down and the characters will stay with you-as they should!


5 out of 5 stars An Excellent Choice, December 3, 2011
By ATL - This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Paperback)

I enjoyed this book immensely, and I recommend it highly. I am not a professional in the field of mental health, and I do not usually read this type of book, but it was recommended to me, so I gave it a try. First, it is a very good read - a page turner at times - that tells a very interesting story about a young man, Kevin, in his early adult years in the late 60s early 70s. But, more importantly, he has undiagnosed schizophrenia, and the book provides an insight into schizophrenia that you might never get otherwise. The author clearly knows the field, as can be seen in the description of Kevin's experiences, of the mental health system at that time and of the total bewilderment of Kevin's family. The book leaves the reader wanting to know more about this disease and how well it is diagnosed and treated today and also wanting to find out more about Kevin and how his journey is progressing. I hope there is another book coming. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews


5 out of 5 stars I'm still thinking about this book, November 11, 2011
By Annie -This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Paperback)

I finished the sad, horrendous tale of Kevin; about the treatment he received in the world due to his mental illness. It is beautifully written. I thought I'd read it slowly over a period of days or weeks, but it was a real page turner and I finished it quickly. I love that every time I thought I knew where the story was going, it surprised me. I love that Kevin is a believable person who I could understand and care about and I'm happy to have learned a lot as I read this wonderful book. I hope it will be a best seller and that it will help to open people's eyes and hearts to those people unlucky enough to have a mental illness, whatever kind it may be.


5 out of 5 stars recommended!, November 4, 2011
By Sharon K. Yntema
- This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Paperback)
Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca, NY United States

I sat down yesterday and read this book from cover to cover. Here lies truth.
The last chapter surprised me and blew me away.


5 out of 5 stars This is the real deal!, October 27, 2011
By Nikki Reynolds - This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Kindle Edition)

Terry Garahan makes quite a claim when he calls his book "The First Real Novel about Schizophrenia." When I looked at the only novel they had listed was I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb, where schizophrenia is a subplot. I looked elsewhere and found Lowboy which only gives us a glimpse of the illness. The Caveman's Valentine is a mystery with a schizophrenic detective.

Garahan takes us through 22 years of the illness as experienced by Kevin, the main character. I immediately fell in love with Kevin. I found myself thinking about him as I drove to work. Wondering how he was doing when I opened the book. I tried to slow down my reading so I could spend more time with him. He is a child of the sixties who becomes a homeless mental patient of the eighties. His experience became my experience as I joined him, his family, friends and lovers trying to navigate through a world that I now better understand. This journey with schizophrenia is certainly worth the effort. Terry Garahan tells a story that few can tell and he does it well.


5 out of 5 stars Sex, drugs, rock and roll; and schizophrenia, October 25, 2011
By Sparrow - This review is from: When Truth Lies: A Journey with Schizophrenia (Kindle Edition)

I didn't know if I would enjoy reading this book. It's not a usual topic of interest for me. I have to say I did and for various reasons. It begins as a coming of age story, set in the sixties, that includes the onset of schizophrenia. The author, Garahan, takes us through 20 years of illness from small town America, hippies, road trips, state hospitals and homeless in New York City.

Our view of the world is through the mind of Kevin who suffers with schizophrenia. The story is engrossing particularly how Kevin interacts with family and friends, doctors and strangers all the while coping with voices and delusions that are very real to him. This book gave me a glimpse of a world that frankly I never gave much time thinking about; from those afflicted to those who try to help them. "When Truth Lies" is well written and an enjoyable surprise.