Françoise Salomon

Silent Child The Story of a Schizophrenic Publication date : May 1, 1998

This restrained book is largely autobiographical. It recounts the story of a family brutally shaken their son’s violence and mental illness—though nothing had previously seemed to distinguish him from other teenagers. Julien was a bright and sensitive child. As he grew older, he turned into a solitary, uncommunicative boy who appeared ill at ease. After a suicide attempt, he was taken to hospital where doctors rapidly diagnosed him as having a ‘juvenile psychosis’: Julien was in fact schizophrenic. His return home was followed by another crisis, and then another. Finally the illness would take over, giving rise to fear, parental guilt, isolation, and feelings of powerlessness. This highly moving chronicle of the world of schizophrenia owes much of its force to the author’s sober style. Schizophrenia, whose first symptoms appear at adolescence—hence its name ‘juvenile psychosis’—remains little known by the general public. It affects 1% of the general population and their families.

The mother of a schizophrenic child, Françoise Salomon is an active member of the French Union nationale des amis et des familles des malades mentaux. She is a former teacher of French literature.