by Brad Cohen and Lisa Wysocky; Acton, Massachusetts, VanderWyk and Burnham, 2005, 250 pages, $22.95
Dr. Adams is medical director of adult services at the California Department of Mental Health in Sacramento.
Storytelling has become an increasingly popular approach for communicating important compelling messages intended to change awareness and attitudes. Front of the Class is a personal account of one man's lifelong struggles with Tourette's syndrome—from childhood to adulthood—and his success in realizing his dreams.
This rather simply written but straightforward book is most appropriate for a lay audience rather than the professional reader. Tourette's is a rare condition and is one of those unusual disorders with significant neurological and psychiatric impacts. The book does a good job of describing the neurological symptoms while providing some insights into the physical symptoms of this disorder and the psychological and social impacts on both the individual and the entire family.
Although the book might help some professionals to understand the personal experience of Tourette's, I think that the greatest value of this book will be as a reference for mental health and neurology professionals to recommend for patients and families when considering or establishing a diagnosis of Tourette's syndrome.
It is increasingly clear that hope is an essential component of wellness and recovery. This book provides a genuine and heartfelt message of hope in the face of a potentially devastating disorder.