Book Reviews

Please submit the title of any books that you have found useful about young people and others who have a mentally ill parent, to be added to the list below.

Submit to Contact page.
You must specify the following subject line:Book Review

In the submission include:

  • A short descriptive paragraph,
  • Author Name
  • The Publisher and year of first publication and current publication date.

Authors and Publishers may also submit details. However you must advise us of your status as Author or Publisher. Please feel free to include two copies of your publication to NNAAMI Book Review P.O. Box 213 Glen Iris 3146 Victoria Australia.

Please include a copy of an extract and others comments or review with permission to place on NNAAMI web site, along with the Authors contact address, email, and phone number.

Please consider including NNAAMI, WAYMI and this internet site as a resource in your book.

(NNAAMI reserves the right to add or remove reviews with out notice)

Collateral Damage the impacts of my mothers mental illness on me Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

Title         Collateral Damage  the impacts of my mothers mental illness on me

Author      Cate Grace

This is one of the best books in this area I have read to date. It covers many deep emotions and feelings commonly experienced by people managing a parent with mental illness. It provides a remarkable depth of insight into this hidden reality. Highly commended reading and is awarded our Trophy award in 2017.Will be a valuable resource for those from this life experience.  Should be read by all health / welfare and mental health workers, religious leaders /clergy educators, policy makers police and criminal justice professionals.

The review on amazon states.

“Poignant, absorbing and thought-provoking... The powerful true story of a child who grew up with a demanding and destructive intruder in her home: her mother's mental illness. Stunning and mesmerizing, this book is an important MUST-READ for anyone wishing to understand the often devastating effects of parental mental illness on children. Cate uses evocative imagery to transport us to her childhood, allowing us to understand the impacts of her mother’s severe mental illness on her. Collateral Damage...a story that needs to be told and re-told in the context of how we support children with a parent with severe mental illness including grown up children.”

Mr Paul Mckillop




For more information see,

ENEMY Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

Title ENEMY’   ‘A daughters story of how her father brought the Vietnam war home’

Author Ruth Clare

Publisher Penguin

The penguin book site states about Ruth’s book ‘Enemy’,

“ 'I was born into the war still raging inside my father.'

Ruth Clare's father came back from the Vietnam War a changed man: a violent, controlling parent and a dominating, aggressive husband. Through a childhood of being constantly on guard, with no one to protect her but herself, Ruth learned to be strong and fierce in the face of fear.”

Read the Review from  ‘The Australian’ by

Ross Fitzgerald is emeritus professor of history and politics at Griffith University at,

Read more about this book here,

‘Mom Mania and Me’ Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

Title: ‘Mom Mania and Me’

Author: Diane Dweller

Publisher: Amazon,  Barns and Noble

Winner 'Trophy Award'  nnaami waymi

Published in 2016

Diane Dweller’s Book ‘Mom Mania and Me’ ‘Surviving and Changing a Volatile Relationship’

Diane’s Book ‘Mom Mania and Me’ is an account of their life coping with her mother Dixie. Her book is a magnificent achievement which would have taken many years to complete, even for such an accomplished author.

Growing up in Texas with a doctor father and nurse mother, Diane recounts the story of great survival against the odds.

Dixie was the unstoppable ever-on-the-go-party planner and organiser, high in mania from a bipolar illness. She is organising everyone, shopping incessantly, buying cars and speeding everywhere. Diane recounts with passion of her mother’s absurd antics and darker mood which takes a huge toll on family and friends. Diane seeks and finds, ways to escape the trauma (which no one else ever knows about) of Dixies ‘Scary Angry Mom’ outbursts of physical and emotional abuse.

From a traumatic, devastating, roller coaster ride of a life, Diane manages to gain greater understanding about her mother. She develops survival behaviours and discovers significant insights into managing her mother. With greater self-esteem and confidence she overcomes fears and her burden of pain. She finds ways to deal with her unfaithful first husband and other difficult people and eventually begins to love her mother. By sheer determination and courage Diane has triumphed over her highly critical mother who was rarely medication compliant. Diane shares several gems of wisdom.

Diane’s experience highlights significant ways in managing a parent with mental illness.

Wonderfully written, Diane’s compelling account of her childhood struggle with her moms’ mania/bipolar illness is highly recommended. Anyone managing a parent with a mental illness and all those who know someone experiencing mental illness would appreciate the insights which Diane shares with us in ‘Mom Mania and Me’.

Professionals in the fields of Mental Health, Justice, Family Welfare and Family Violence must read this book.

NNAAMI and WAYMI have awarded Diane Dweller the ‘Trophy Award 2016’ for her book ‘Mom Mania and Me’

This will be available to viewed on our site

Mr Paul Mckillop


The National Network of Adult and Adolescent children who have a Mentally Ill parent/s.


World Association of Young People and Others who have a Mentally Ill parent.


More information on this book can be found at

One Thought to Be Taken Once a Day: 366 Well-Being Thoughts for Health Professionals Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

One Thought to Be Taken Once a Day: 366 Well-Being Thoughts for Health Professionals

Dr Emma Allende

This is a must-read for all health, human service or mental health professionals. With years of experience as a psychiatrist, Emma Allende offers us, her readers, 365 days’ worth of uplifting quotes and positive meditations to remind us of our intrinsic value, and of the importance of connecting in a healthy way with the moment.

This book is a poignant reminder of one’s purpose in the health industry and why one enters this helping profession. Allende helps us remember - in the midst of managing a personal life and what one brings to a career from it - our purpose in medical hospital, community health, mental health and human service environments, and the value of every transaction and interaction with colleagues, patients, clients and carers.

Allende inspires us to sustain emotional wellbeing, despite the daily pressure, grind, anxiety and demands of bureaucratic systems or organisational politics, for enhanced best practice. She reminds us to keep focused always on the positive in life, at home and in the work environment – this is crucial to individual success and wellbeing.

Don’t wait to employ Allende’s uplifting daily thoughts in your practice.

Mr Paul Mckillop
Counsellor and Mental Health Educator

Find it here

When Red is Blue Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   

Book Review
Book 'When Red is Blue'
Author Sabrynne McLain.

Sabrynne McLain’s autobiographical memoir/novel ‘when Red is Blue’ is exciting and hart-felt. Her descriptive style makes readers feel they are with her in each scene as the author details encounters of her growing up as a bright young person, managing a mother with chronic long term paranoid schizophrenia and an alcoholic father.

The readers feelings are wrenched at the reality of a young person’s struggle to care for a mother with severe mental illness, while a well-meaning mental health system, professionals and authorities are unable to successfully contribute anything of tangible value.

The story is gripping on every level. Sabrynne has lived a colourful life with her friends, her lovers, her work, and the tragic reality of her experiences. She vividly describes family events; student years; her work in a strip club; and her mothers immersion in the depths of madness in a country town, functioning somehow -who knows how-?

Sabrynne’s story culminates with an almost comical account. Having described the love between the family-despite their difficulties-she broaches the death of her parents. Her mother was eventually found dead behind a church in the snow by police after a desperately long search. Sabrynne’s sorrow is eventually tempered by the inept endeavours of her estranged aunt and uncles’ to belatedly manage the situation and funerals.

This book had me sitting on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. It finds a happy ending in the author’s retention of sanity and the drive to go on with her life to face new challenges; a revelation of Sybrynne’s special resilience.

It is with much pleasure this publication is awarded the NNAAMI Trophy Award
A must read book-
I look forward to a sequeal.

Mr Paul Mckillop
Convenor - The National Network of Adult and Adolescent Children who have a Mentally ill parent.

(This book is recommended for adult reading)

Available now at Amazon
More Info
Sabrynne McLain's Website

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Jarvis Walker     Arlec

You can help NNAAMI by purchasing one of the products below:

© 2001 National Network of Adult and Adolescent Children who have a Mentally Ill Parent
Tax Deductable Reg Charity. Inc.Vic. AOO33733N ABN 41 286 047 141

N.B. All items on this site remain the property of NNAAMI. Permission is granted to duplicate and distribute any items on this site for school student purposes only provided you acknowledge the source. However, written permission is required for any reproduction or for reproduction in public forums / conferences presentations.


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Featured Articles

The 'Forgotten People'

by Anna Malbon from the Progress Press October 22, 1996

WHEN nine-year-old "Tom" was asked to draw a picture of himself with his mother be drew her trying to strangle him.

Tom entered the world of adults too early. If he was ever immune to the complications and pain of life that adults try to shelter from children, he says he can't remember.

Bulletin Board

I had to struggle extra hard

Her doctors did not bother to enquire about my father and I.

They only listened to her stories ”

“ I grew up thinking - Nobody wanted to help. Nobody wanted to know.”

Hi, I had a mentally ill mother. She passed away last year. I literally grew up hanging around mental hospitals because my Mom's condition was a cycle that always ends in a mental hospital. When I was younger, there was a long period when I cried my eyes out every time I was separated from my mentally ill mother because she had to stay in a mental hospital. After I grew older, my Mom's mental illness became impossible for me to bear.

Literally, my Mom's mental illness ruined my life. I think. I had to struggle extra hard for everything because of my big handicap at home. There was no support at all from anyone other than my father. Nobody else wanted to know about it. My mother's own cousin even said to my father not to bring my Mom to their place. I grew up thinking - Nobody wanted to help. Nobody wanted to know. My mother's own sister has been complaining since 2000 and her last complain was on 5 July 2014. This particular aunt keeps complaining about the same thing. That she had to take my Mom for her weekly injections and complained that my father and I was not around to do it. Then, she goes on to say that she saw my Mom beat me up with a cane. When she said that, I asked my Aunt, you saw my Mom beat me up with a cane? She said yes and than, she walked away.

I feel very sore with this aunt. Number one, the period she was complaining about was when I was still schooling and my father's and my mental health had deteriorated so badly that we had to leave the state for our own sanity. Before joining my father, I had to live alone with my Mom and my baby sister for almost a year. My aunt who lived a few minutes drive away did nothing when my Mom beat me up every day for months until my father managed to cut the red tape to remove me. My body was full of bruises and I was terrified to go home after school. Nobody helped. Not the neighbours who can hear all my mom's shouting at me, nor my aunt, nor my grandparents, nor my school's teachers. Someone should had intervened for a 12+ little girl. No adult helped. My father was trying his best to get me away to stay with him. Nobody helped him.

On XXXXXXXXXXXX, my Mom's sister let slip she saw my Mom beat me with a cane. And yet she did nothing! My aunt even had the cheek to say that my Mom beat me up because I said I wanted to go live with my father. The way my aunt said it was like the beatings were wholly my fault. What is wrong with the picture? You have a 12+ girl being beaten up daily, you are an aunt who knows something is going on and did nothing. Yet for years later you complain about having to take your own blood sister for her injections. And, I do not think she did it for longer than my own experiences. Probably only a few times because my father and I had to travel frequently to see to my mother. Due to the cyclic nature of her illness.

I have been going with my father when he took my mother for her weekly injections as a little girl, knee high, ever since I can remember. My own aunt is so calculative. There was a nurse that visits my Mom to give her her injections. But, the problem is my Mom will not let the nurse into her house that is why the intervention is needed. I have lost count on the number of times I had to go with my Mom for her injections as a little girl.

Her doctors did not bother to enquire about my father and I. They only listened to her stories and full stop. I think my Mom's doctors are the most heartless people I have ever met in my life. Until today, I do not like anyone who officially practices psychology because those doctors etc... contributed to my life being ruined. That is how I feel. I have been scolded by my Mom's medical team and they even dumped my Mom on me after I just turn 18 and there was no other adult around. And, they knew the situation. I was terrified because my Mom was a very violent. My Mom has pitched me, beaten me up, she has biten me with her teeth, she has smashed my head against the table and threatened to beat me with a piece of hard wood. I experienced all these as a little girl at the tender age of 12+ I had to learn karate to protect myself from her violent ways. And, when my Mom was home, I would lock my room's door and place a chair against it. I was that terrified of her.

All our belongings can go missing because my Mom is good at that sort of thing. You never know what is what with my Mom. It is like having a criminal live under the same roof as you.

My aunt kept repeating to me that on my mother's death anniversary I will have go visit her cemetery. I live in a different state from where my mother's cemetery is located. And, my aunt knows that very well. However she repeated her question to me until I said yes. I hate being forced to do something against my will because I have been forced to do things against my will my whole life.

My life is in ruins because of my mother's mental illness and people like my aunt is perpetuating the troubles for me after my mother's death. When I was 12+, my mother's mother said to me that it is my father's job to take care of my mother. In other words, my father's job and mine. And, they never lifted a finger to help. Just helping a little, my aunt has been complaining about the same thing for more than a decade. Unbelievable. Shameful.

Even though my father and I lived in a different state from my mother, we had to travel up and down every weekend because that is demanded of my mother. Sometimes, we had to travel after school and upon our arrival, she won't let us in and we had to travel all the way back. And, my father will not let me sleep at home as it is a school day, I had to go to school. My education was very important to my father. My mother could not be bothered if I succeeded or not.

I have seen more than any of my Mom's relatives have seen with regards her mental illness but people whom I just met behave like I have no idea about my Mom like they are the authority on her behaviour and her illness. Goodness gracious.

Despite this huge handicap in my life I persevered with my studies. My Mom did not give me any moral or emotional support at all. In fact her mental illness cycle will peak just or during my important exams. In other words, I had to deal with my exams and on top of them a mentally ill mother. By my final year in university, I could not take the pressure of exams and a mentally ill mother's break downs anymore.

When I was in my teenage years and early adult years, I was suicidal. I had to call Befrienders a lot. Thank God for Befrienders.

Before XXXXXXXXXXdate, I do not wish my experience to be experienced by anyone else because it is torture. However, after feeling how hard hearted my aunt is. A so called holy person, a church goer, rich person who has successful kids and grand kids. And, she can talk like it is my fault that my Mom beat me up and she (my aunt) had to take her (her own sister) for her injections when I was a kid. I really wish that my aunt must reincarnate as my father (a few lifes) so that she can eat her own words. If my aunt reincarnates and is put in my father's shoes, she would really deserve it. Hope she learns compassion through it all.

Why can't the world give children of the mentally ill a break? I am so fed up with all this troubles that stem from my mother's sister's attitude towards my father and I. After all shel lives a great lives. Rich live. What is wrong with these people? I really cannot stand them. This is my story.

After I wrote the above - I am more myself now, and I totally forgive my aunt and everybody who did nothing to help my father and I. And, everybody else who were heartless towards my father and I. However, I still think that by living a few life times as my father (my aunt) - would do her some good. But, knowing her character, she might become a psychopath and pose a threat to humanity. My father is a very, very kind soul. My aunt is a hard hearted, prejudiced, narrow minded, one tracked mind person.

How I cope? Trying my best to keep out of their way, and hang out with positive people. There are plenty of great people out there. Nnaami is included :)


South East Asia