Praise for A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise
“This book is an act of radical empathy through which the author—and, vicariously, the reader—enters intimately into a life that would otherwise be unintelligible.”
– Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
“To pay great attention and devote steady care to the perspective of another is, in itself, almost miraculous—especially when the Other has been cast as mad and dangerous. Sandra Allen has brought forward her uncle’s life, rendering in exquisite detail what his experiences as a stigmatized, struggling man allowed him to see. This is a truly original piece of work. I urge you to read it.”
– Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, author of Random Family
"Compelling . . . A bracing work of art and a loving tribute to a man whose voice, no matter how unpolished, deserves to be heard."
– Maris Kreizman forThe Los Angeles Times
"I know the decision to write this story wasn't an easy one [@hellosandyallen]. I’m really, really grateful that you did 💖 Thank you for bearing witness. Thank you for being kind, and curious, and thorough, and honest. Just, thank you. 📚😭"
– Heben Nigatu (host, Another Round)
"Thrilling writing . . . The interest and the quality of the story make honesty about each aspect of this strange life worth including . . . A watershed in empathetic adaptation of “outsider” autobiography."
– Jo Livingstone, The New Republic
"Timely . . . An excellent contextualized first-person narrative of schizophrenia . . . My hope is that it will become a classic and universally read by all psychiatrists."
– Howard L. Forman, MD, Psychiatric Times
“Shows a burgeoning critical mental health gaze . . . [Allen] allows Bob’s story to flow without neatly fitting into one model of thought around what it means to be diagnosed with schizophrenia."
– Jessica Pons, ISPS - UK
"It is an odd thing, paranoia. It’s easily lampooned and culturally accessible, but it’s seldom experienced or portrayed so elegantly as Allen does here."
– Essay ("Paranoia Is Like Background Radiation, and A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise Gets It Right") by B. David Zarley for Paste Magazine
"In a searing new memoir, a niece tries to make sense of her uncle's mental illness."
“She calls the beautiful final product a cover version—rather than a translation—and it is a marvel.”
"Insightful . . . Allen offers readers an incredible glimpse into the life of a person battling with schizophrenia."
"A glimpse of how schizophrenia looks and feels from the inside."
“Deeply affecting . . . Evokes what it’s like to try to make sense of a troubled loved one from afar . . . The picture of a distinct but impenetrable life”
“[A] compelling debut . . . Allen is a skillful writer."
– Library Journal (starred review)
"[AKOMP] is an extraordinarily empathic journey into the mind and lived experience of a man who struggled to understand and explain his life . . . I urge you to let Allen introduce you to her uncle Bob."
“A book of many strange and often oddly beautiful pieces that together combine into a story that will make you tremble. [AKOMP] is a resurrection of sorts, a profound retrieval of a life from beyond the veil with which so many of us obscure the realities of illness and family, loneliness and intimacy.”
– Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family
"Allen has crafted a fearless narrative about what it is really like to grow up under the weight of mental illness . . . Honest, heartbreaking, and often humorous, this remarkable book offers a window into an experience of mental illness that many people often never get the chance to see through."
“Compulsively readable . . . A fascinating and important work.”
forThe Los Angeles Times with Maris Kreizman
for The Boston Globe with Kate Tuttle, president of the National Book Critics Circle
for The Essay Review with Nicolás Medina Mora
forThe Cedar Rapids Gazette with Rob Cline
for The Missoulian with Chris LaTray
for The Daily Texan with Brooke Sjoberg
Radio & Podcast Appearances