Cover Image: The Book of Malcolm

The Book of Malcolm

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Wonderful book!  Heartbreaking and an essential read,.  This would be a great book to teach in a medical humanities or English class.
Was this review helpful?
I found this to be a wonderful book, full of both moments of extreme happiness and absolute devastation about Fraser's son Malcolm's journey with schizophrenia up until his death in 2009. This autobiography provided a unique insight into the mind of somebody living with schizophrenia from a parent's perspective, offering a glimpse into the challenges faced and the obstacles climbed whilst enduring the stress of looking after his schizophrenic son.
Was this review helpful?
An absolutely beautiful piece of work. Fraser Sutherland tells the story of his son Malcom so perfectly, that you almost feel as if you know the family. A very tragic story. My heart broke a million times over reading this!
Was this review helpful?
The Book of Malcolm is the last work written by Canadian author Fraser Sutherland, only published after his death. In the book, Sutherlands relates to the life and loss of his son Malcolm, who suffered from schizophrenia. The book is not an easy read, and maybe perhaps that's why it couldn't grab me. It's written in a diary-style format, yet I very much struggled to get through the first two parts of the book. Perhaps because only in  part three of the book do we actually really learn about Malcolm. Who he was, what he did, how he suffered. The book is raw and honest, but I believe would have been much more relatable if written chronologically - or at least mostly chronologically.
Was this review helpful?
The book of Malcolm is a thoughtful and reflective novel on the life of Fraser Sutherland’s son Malcolm. Suffering from schizophrenia through his late teens and making great progress on managing his mental health, Malcolm dies suddenly on Boxing Day aged 26. In this novel, Fraser Sutherland reflects on the sufferings of his son and on the experience as a parent of a mentally ill child. Snippets of Malcolm’s journal entries are included throughout the book and in greater intensity towards the end. Particularly interesting was the insight into Malcolm’s spirituality & the chaos of his inner thoughts.
I found the start of the book was slow but after the halfway mark, I was more drawn to the narrative. The content is emotional and it is sad to also hear that the author died shortly after writing this transcript. In requesting a copy of this ARC, I was hoping to learn more about what it is like the experience psychotic episodes and schizophrenia. This book delivered on that and although there is no moral of the story as such, it is a beautiful celebration of Malcolm’s life.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you for the advanced copy.

What a insightful yet heartbreaking read, I could not put this down. I will definitely purchase a copy of this and highly recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
Not an easy read but a vital one, this is a searing account of the highs and lows of a young man and ultimately a family devastated by mental illness. It’s unflinching describing the frustrations as well as the rewards of caring for a vulnerable young man. Beautifully written: every word lands on the page like a drop of blood from a father’s broken heart.
Was this review helpful?
An insight into the mind of a young man malcolm plaguedby mental illness, his mother Alison who also struggled with her mental health and his father Fraser highly acclaimed author and editor who wrote this novel. It is witty, revelationary and sometimes cuts a little close to the bone.
An interesting narrative, Fraser has not held back on his family's struggles in dealing with the day to day of schizophrenia but told in a way that really involves the reader, as if he was sitting with you relaying a conversation he'd had the day previous.
I surmise that this family through their journals and journeys have made a breakthrough in the way mental illness is perceived and if you have ever had a blip in your wellbeing, this is a must read. Sad also but above all it is a book that portrays hope and belief through a very difficult dynamic.
Was this review helpful?
Insightful and heartbreaking. 
There are no words to describe the journey I went on reading The Book of Malcolm. 
This beautifully written memoir, this tribute to Malcolm's life and struggles can also be a comfort to families going through the same trials.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this book for an honest review. This book was interesting in that it told readers about Malcolm’s life after he passed through the journals he kept as well as the way his parents viewed his life. At times it appeared disjointed but given the life Malcolm lived this is to be expected. The story in itself was quite complex but gave a good insight of what life was like for Malcolm and his family.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an Advanced readers copy of this book. 
Working in healthcare, I am blessed to meet people from all walks of life and this book brings a whole different perspective on how schizophrenia can not only effect the person diagnosed, but their family as well. 
I highly recommend this book for those who may want additional insight on families struggling with such a diagnosis, or even those who may work in healthcare. 
Unfortunately, the author’s wife committed suicide after Malcolm’s death and while this book was being written the author passed as well. Thank you to their friend for getting this published and bringing this family’s story to life.
Was this review helpful?
A beautiful story and account of schizophrenia. I worry about people centering themselves on someone else's mental illness, but this is helpful if you have a loved one who lives with a chronic mental illness.
Was this review helpful?
The Canadian writer Fraser Sutherland writes touchingly of the effect of mental illness on his family.
His son Malcolm died in 2009 in his 20s after living with schizophrenia and this is a meditation on his life and that of his and his wife Alison’s as they deal with his diagnosis and Malcolm’s lived experience as he grapples with it. 
But this is so much more than a book about mental illness. 
Malcolm is a complex and rounded person, well-liked and a great thinker. Part of the book’s beauty is that it doesn’t come to simple conclusions or treat more difficult topics lightly. 
I was also really interested and distressed to see the intersection of Malcolm and his mother’s deteriorating mental health.
Recommended. Not easy reading but a complex and true memoir.
Was this review helpful?
<i>I took him to a coffee shop to tell him that I was going to have surgery. Something caught in my throat when I tried to tell him there was a remote possibility I could do during the operation. Just as difficult, I tried to tell him how much he meant to me. Uncomfortable, his discomfort mirroring mine, he said, "I know you love me, dad."</i>

I could have never imagined what the families and those having schizophrenia were going through when they have episodes. But this title comes in time when people are trying to normalize the life with mental disorders as well as going to the psychologists or psychiatrists. I would say that would be a huge change! All of the characters are fascinating, not because this is a real story, but because the author didn't want to hide anything from us, we meet his family as a whole - three people who were happy and unhappy, going through different emotions and stages, accepting the death of their loved ones, battling with the struggles in life, experiencing happy moments as well, not only the bad ones. 

While reading it you can see fractures of their simple yet eventful life, and although he was grieving, Fraser mustered the courage and let us, unknown readers, in his life, paying homage to his own son. Although Malcolm was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at some point in his life, I still find him to be a charming person, the way he was trying to find a way out, showed us that he really cared to get better. We can just sense the glimpse of fear that people diagnosed with schizophrenia are going through, and the main one is: What if I am not loved? When you think about, with or without diagnosis, don't we all suffer from that question? Don't we all obsessively try to find our soulmate, someone whom we would settle down with and have a family? Don't we all have the urge to make a family of our own, if only but for fear of loneliness. The most tragic figure in this family would be Allison, who found it so hard to deal with everything that was going on, the main reason, I would say is that she couldn't accept the reality, so it was hard to admit she had some problems, and she just started sailing through life with support of drinks. 

In the end, the story was well-rounded, starting off and finishing with the same event: Christmas Eve, when all three of them were truly happy. 

*** 
Thank you Netgalley for an ARC, it was one of the most wholesome read I have had this year.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing this book in exchange for an honest review
This book is a touching and emotional story. Parts of the story are quite funny as Malcolm is growing up. In his teens, he develops schizophrenia and then his tragic death. The third part was most interesting to me as the family deals with Malcolm's schizophrenia.
Tragically, the author's wife dies by suicide several years after Malcolm's death and the author died while writing this book. Thankfully his friend was able to finish getting the book published. There definitely are unanswered questions but I imagine they would be unanswerable had the author been able to add more to the story.
Was this review helpful?
This book is extremely beautifully written and very emotive - particularly if you have ever had a child who has battled with their mental health.
The author’s memory is staggering, and he  tells the story as though he were telling you personally.
His life was sad, difficult, challenging… but also so full of love and the strength to overcome the many hurdles they faced as a family.
Just wonderful.
I am so moved by it, I can’t award it less than 5 stars ⭐️
Was this review helpful?
Fraser Sutherland was a noted Canadian writer and poet, and it truly shows in the beautiful, honest prose in his book about the life and death of his son, Malcolm. Fraser completed this memoir shortly before his own death, which makes this book even more poignant. 
Malcolm had suffered from schizophrenia from his late teens and died on Boxing Day, 2009, at the young age of 26. Part one of the book deals with Malcolm’s death and the aftermath. It becomes clear from the tributes paid to Malcom by his friends that he was a rare being who positivity affected the lives of many people. Fraser’s reminiscences about Malcolm’s quirks and the role he played in the family dynamic are funny and touching. Malcolm was that special kind of person everyone gravitates towards. 
Fraser’s description of Malcolm’s death is unflinchingly honest and lucid. He shares his innermost thoughts about the well-meaning chaos of his son’s funeral and the throng of relatives that descended on them after. Anyone who has been in this situation will recognise this. Fraser’s way of dealing with Malcolm’s death jars with his wife’s, who, eager to talk about their son, can’t understand her husband’s reluctance to and distance from the subject. 
The second part relates Malcolm’s birth and early life. The section on the birth itself is both funny and slightly embarrassing as his wife’s anatomical details are laid bare. Malcolm becomes an imaginative and precocious boy and this section is a joy to read as we are introduced to his imagination in full flow in games and writing.
The third part of the book is the toughest to read as Malcolm begins to have psychotic episodes and other mental health problems. Extracts from his diary, both articulate and disturbing, show a troubled soul. The book ends more or less where it began, just before Malcolm’s last Christmas. 
“The Book of Malcolm” is superb. It is a short but powerful book which, as the afterword by one of Fraser’s friends explains, doesn’t offer any moral at the end but merely celebrates a life. Brutally honest and relatable, it is vigorously recommended for anyone struggling with mental health issues or the passing of a loved one.
Was this review helpful?