His Grace in the Midst of Tragedy
by Edward Lapointe
Author Reputation Press

"Schizophrenia had taken everything in my life that I had loved."

One night in 1976, Lapointe, a Vietnam veteran with a young family, started experiencing frightening and violent delusions. In an attempt to defend himself and his family from the terrifying fate he was certain awaited them, he stood guard in his house with a gun—and ended up shooting his wife. Stricken, he turned the gun on himself, but while his shot damaged his cheek and jaw, it miraculously missed most of his face and head. This memoir describes the turn Lapointe’s life took after that horrible night. He spent months in hospitals recovering from his self-inflicted injuries and would return years later for the reconstruction of his face and jaw. But most of the decade following the shooting was spent in a mental institution, receiving a diagnosis and eventually treatment for his paranoid schizophrenia.

Lapointe’s adventures and observations as an inmate in a mental institution are fascinating and occasionally heartbreaking. He presents what could be melodramatic scenes with a journalist’s eye for minimalism and offers occasional wry critiques of the criminal justice system. Even though his illness took his family and freedom from him, Lapointe never comes across as bitter. For example, while he posits that the violence he encountered in the military may have triggered his schizophrenia, he never regrets serving his country.

The details of Lapointe’s memoir sound grim, but during those long months in the hospital, he realized he would like to better know Christianity, the Bible, and Jesus. It would take him years to fully commit himself to his faith, but he includes throughout his memoir moments that he knows his God was with him from the start, helping him through some of his darkest hours. His faith and optimism infuse the entire memoir with a tone of hope.

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