Pat Capponi

Memoir



Upstairs in the crazy house

"Pick a superlative. 'Brilliant' will do. So will 'original'. Upstairs in the Crazy House deserves all the prized adjectives that hail the best books."
Toronto Star

The author of five works of non-fiction, Pat Capponi made a spectacular debut as a mystery writer with Last Stop Sunnyside. For three years, struggling with her own demons, Capponi lived in a boarding house more grim than the one she portrays in her novels. She became a leading advocate for the mentally ill with the mantra of  “a home, a job and a friend.”

Penguin Canada CAN/92
 

UPSTAIRS IN THE CRAZY HOUSE:

The life of a psychiatric survivor

We see them everywhere -- and we don't really see them. They are the homeless, though they may be temporarily sheltered, unable to function in society.

Pat Capponi was one of them, disabled by depression, with no place to go after three months in hospital. Government largesse gave her a tiny disability allowance and the name of a boarding house where profiteer owners crammed 70 people into space for 50.

She lived there for three years, warehoused with other unloved and abandoned derelicts, winos, and demon-plagued psychotics. Her ability to see them, to care for them, and to love them, proved to be her salvation. Of all the residents we meet, only Capponi was able to pull herself out.

With amazing courage, she managed to surmount her own fragility to become, in her quiet way, an anchor and a bridge for others on the outside.

Her powerful, simply-written memoir opens in the dining room of the boarding house. Sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, it is never grim or depressing.