This post contains affiliate links. This year, I’ve been reading more nonfiction. Recently, in one of my Facebook groups for book lovers, I saw someone recommend The Day the Voices Stopped by Ken Steele & Claire Berman. I’m so glad I found this recommendation because this is one of my top five books that I’ve read in 2022.
About The Day the Voices Stopped by Ken Steele & Claire Berman
Ken Steele was a 14-year-old listening to the radio in his room when a voice came from the radio and spoke directly to him, saying, “Kill yourself. . .Set yourself on fire.” He quickly turned off the radio, but the voices didn’t stop. They berated him continuously and not only urged him to kill himself, but told him how to do it.
Ken confided in his grandmother. His parents then took him to a doctor who diagnosed him with schizophrenia.
With that diagnosis and the endless bombardment of taunting voices, Ken entered a private hell that lasted more than three decades.
My Thoughts on the Book
This book was painful to read. Ken Steele’s life was full of suffering. He became a frequent visitor to mental hospitals, becoming a patient in psychiatric wards in various states–Maine, New York, Colorado, California, and Hawaii, to name a few. The help he got in these different hospitals varied. In some, he found kind souls who wanted to help him get well; in others, he was brutalized and dismissed.
Unlike other books about mental illness, this one is unique because the reader hears directly from the afflicted person. Ken Steele shares what life was like living with auditory hallucinations for over 30 years, and he shares his regret that he could not live a “normal” life.
However, Steele is finally given a medicine that not only quiets his voices but silences them. He then goes on to become a powerful advocate for the mentally ill.
After I finished the book, I looked up Ken Steele on YouTube and found an interview he did in 2000. It was nice to see and hear him tell a bit of his story.
I give The Day the Voices Stopped by Ken Steele & Claire Berman 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.