Saturday, February 4, 2012

Playing the Genetic Lottery by Terri Morgan

Is it going to happen to me, just like my parents?  Will I turn into a schizophrenic?  Will my children? That is what Ava and Jon had to worry about their entire childhood.  They couldn't live a normal childhood because of their parents' illness.

The author did a great job explaining the disease and made the scenes in the book real.  Learning how awful this disease is and how it ruins families and robs children of their childhood and adults of their lives was enlightening and frightening.

You will fall in love with Ava, the narrator, who changes her name to Caitlin when she turns fifteen.  She is such a strong character and tries to act normal when she knows nothing is normal at home.  Her brother Jon was her protector and confidant throughout their childhood trauma.  Things didn't turn out the way they wanted it to for them as the years passed, though.  Jon was also a very strong character and made you wonder how children do make it through when their parents are ill.  Thank goodness for Ava and Jon that their grandparents were there for them.

The book gives a lot of information about the devastating disease and is put in laymen's terms through the story told by Ava/Caitlin.  You will feel Ava's frustrations dealing with their unsettled, bizarre childhood and sympathize with her and her brother even though Ava was left alone after awhile to deal with it all. 

It isn’t a gripping story with an outstanding plot but more of a saga of the Swarthout family.  The grandparents were wonderful.  It did get a little tiresome going on and on, and I was actually glad when it came to the last pages.  It seemed a little too long, but it was a very well-written book with a lot of information about mental diseases.   I enjoyed the book for the most part. 

3.5/5 because of the length….it could have been shorter and not include as much dialogue.


  1. Not a bad book, but not the greatest.

  2. Hi Elizabeth - sounds like one we should read to give us a grasp of the horrors of Schizophrenia .. in due time I hope to read it.

    Thanks for the introduction to it .. at least we scan through some of it .. cheers Hilary

  3. If not great still readable because of the premise. The opening sentences piqued my interest. Who wouldn't be worried if their parents had this affliction?

  4. Definitely readable to find out information about this devastating disease. It was very informative in terms of the disease.

  5. What an awful thing to have hanging over your childhood. Sounds like an interesting read :)

  6. Rough subject. Former son-in-law is schizophrenic so we worry about our gr.daughters. Just had an article in our local paper about a 23yr old girl who killed herself, her brother killed himself a while back and the gr.parents and a cousin as well. This is a terrible disease.


    Tomes Devotee