Dr Seager communicates his experiences as a vulnerable and terrified human being exquisitely, and it is almost as an afterthought that he describes himself as a psychiatrist. In this way, we are dragged throat-first into his first hours, days and months of working at Napa: his is the learning curve of an innocent pushed into a lion cage.
By sharing his story with us, Dr Seager nails home the flaws in the current psychiatric and legal systems: that the criminally insane are treated as patients first and dangerous criminals second, and that they are always in danger of being released back into society.
I began to fear so much for Dr Seager’s safety that about half way through the book I stopped to check his credentials online so that I could relax a little, knowing that he really was a psychiatrist and was trained to deal with dangerous situations. And that he survived his ordeal largely intact, unlike others in the story.
I could not put down this book, and a whole new world has been opened to me, previously locked behind razor wire and steel doors: the world lived daily by the criminally insane, their families and those who have chosen to care for them. They have my attention, my empathy and my support.
Author: Stephen B. Seager
Reviewed by Monica F, Orewa Library
Monica F is happiest in gumboots and apron, attending to her animals, harvesting her crops and making stuff. Like all truly wholesome people, she has a dark side, and enjoys nothing better than well written true crime and forensic medicine.