First prize in the Wellness category in the 2020 San Diego Book Awards
When a son, sister or grandchild begins behaving in unexpected and disturbing ways, family members hope it may simply be a phase. For some, it is instead a lifetime illness – schizophrenia – which can bring shock, fear, and worry to everyone involved. In the midst of the numerous challenges, hope doesn’t have to die.
Simonetta chronicles her experience of caring for a son with schizophrenia, along with all the struggles, questions, and fervent prayer that went with it. But this isn’t one person’s story. She has provided information and wisdom from psychiatrists, pastors, and people who successfully live with schizophrenia, uncovering the gospel in each situation and sharing hard-won insights on how to care and advocate for those we love.
“Simonetta Carr describes a painful journey that no parent ever wishes or expects to travel: the two years lasting from her son Jonathan’s diagnosis of schizophrenia to his death. She tells the story with vulnerability, expressing the pain that she, her husband, her son Jonathan, and their other children experienced, as well as their fear, frustration, helplessness, lament, and desperate seeking after God. By beginning many chapters with entries from Jonathan’s journal, she invites him to speak into the story as well. In this raw and emotional story, many parents who are on unexpected and unwanted journeys with their own children’s mental illnesses will find a fellow traveler who tells her story and provides wisdom and even hope that God is faithful in the darkest circumstances.” – Mark Stephenson, Director of Disability Concerns, Christian Reformed Church in North America
“A Christian mother’s moving, practical, courageous, and eloquent reflections on the emotional turmoil involved in caring for a son with schizophrenia. She takes the reader deep into wrestling with all the emotions and questions that are raised by such a devastating illness. This is by far the best book I have encountered that combines wise personal, medical, psychological, historical, and deeply theological insights on a controversial topic. A great resource for families, students, and professionals.”– Richard Winter, Psychotherapist; Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Counseling, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri
“The most honest and deeply moving Christian book I’ve read in a long time. Simonetta opens up her broken heart to show us the painful darkness and agonizing tragedy of serious mental illness. But she also opens the door of hope and help for other families by sharing the hard-won knowledge and resources she discovered both in the common grace of God and in the church of God. May this book transform her beloved son Jonathan’s death into life for many others.” – David Murray, Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids; Author, Christians Get Depressed Too
“Simonetta Carr’s Broken Pieces is a must read for any parent of a troubled child. No, make that parents of any child. The pain of a fallen world and God’s redemptive love which is greater than death and that leads to hope come through crystal clear as you read through your tears. Yes, the love of our heavenly Father shines through each dark and tear stained page. You will understand His love better by this mother’s honest testimony. Read it. Encourage others to read it. You will want to hug and comfort this mother for her contribution to His glory. You will then want to comfort suffering parents in your church and neighborhood. – George C Scipione, Adjunct Professor of Biblical Counseling, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA
“The church has historically not understood mental illness well or handled those who have mental illness with appropriate care and compassion. That is thankfully changing, but many Christians still live with common illnesses such as depression and with even rarer ones such as psychosis and schizophrenia. To that we can add the countless family members who suffer because of the havoc they see these things wreaking on the lives of those they love. Simonetta Carr is one such person, and here is a heartfelt and heartbreaking account of how her own family has been affected by such and how she still found hope, even in the darkest hour, in the God who saves.” – Carl Trueman, Christian Theologian and Church Historian; Professor, Grove City College
“In Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them, Simonetta vulnerably lays open her heart and shares a story of love and loss, of suffering and redemption. She masterfully explores the brokenness of the mental health care system, the imperfections of our churches, the confusion of those who live in the grip of mental illness, and the shattered hearts of those who love them. Yet in the midst of the pain and brokenness, Simonetta keeps drawing us back to the God who mends—the God of grace. Broken Pieces is a definite must-read for those who love someone living with a serious mental illness.” – Bev Roozeboom, Author, A Day in the Life: A Glimpse into the Chaosand Hopeof Families with Children Living in the Grip of Chronic Mental Health Disorders and Unlocking the Treasure: A Bible Study for Moms Entrusted with Special-Needs Children; Class Instructor, National Alliance on Mental Illness
“Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them is the poignant story of a mother’s emotional and spiritual journey alongside her son as he battles with cannabis abuse and schizophrenia. Simonetta Carr writes powerfully and movingly as she chronicles her son’s decline into mental illness, his change of character, her daily anxiety and guilt, and the effects of his illness on the rest of the family. The book is not only a medical voyage down the corridors of doctors, psychiatrists, and hospitals but also a spiritual pilgrimage through the Gospels. With the help of her church and Christian friends, the author leads us down an important path of how to come to terms with mental illness on many levels. This book is an essential resource and guide for anyone living with or around schizophrenia.” – Jonathan Aitken, Former UK Cabinet Minister; Author, John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace
“The most inspiring story I’ve ever read. Here is a woman who has suffered the greatest pain a woman can be said to suffer—the loss of her child. And yet that loss has refined and beautified her in a way that leaves the beholder awestruck at the mercy and goodness of God. This is a story of how God’s grace and love really can and do sustain his people through even the most agonizing times—even redeeming them to sanctify and glorify.” – Brooke Ventura, Assistant Editor, Modern Reformation