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BOOK REVIEW: The Beginning, The Beautiful Life of a Murder Survivor

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It seems fitting that Mental Health Affairs reviews the English and Spanish translations of The Beginning: The Beautiful Life of a Murder Survivor by Mr. Craig Lewis. Mental Health Affairs has always been interested in topics like ‘intersectionality,’ ‘Mental Health, ‘trauma,’ and people’s ‘Lived Experiences’ with so-called mental health disorders. In keeping with the mission and vision of Mental Health affairs, I am reviewing Mr. Lewis’s book from the vantage point of a peer, a clinician, or a prosumer. In doing so, I highlight how the author reached out, touched my heart, and re-energized my passion for reforming the system.

Mr. Lewis talks a lot. Without batting a lash, I can say that most people familiar with Mr. Lewis’s work and life would agree with me. He is that person. Mr. Lewis’s book, The Beginning: The Beautiful Life of a Murder Survivor, explains why, when, and how Mr. Lewis became the passionate and relentless advocate he is today in 2022. The Beginning: The Beautiful Life of a Murder Survivor takes the reader back to 1988 in a Massachusetts DMH facility. Mr. Lewis was 15 years old and the victim of family abuse, specifically, Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy (MSbP).

Since then, Mr. Lewis has been surviving. He has also been talking. I am confident anyone in a mental health group online knows Mr. Lewis’ ongoing spirited participation. Well, folks, The Beginning: The Beautiful Life of a Murder Survivor explains how Mr. Lewis never had mental health disorder symptoms from the lens of a victim, advocate, and MSbP survivor. Accounts like this one are rare. All too often, victims of MSbP never achieve the status of survivor and are lost, forever victims of the stilted and murderous labor of the perpetrator. Mr. Lewis’s book offers hope. The book also provides a blueprint for survival in the form of a memoir and Craig’s chosen path to healing through artistic expression as he authored The Beginning: The Beautiful Life of a Murder Survivor.

I recommend this book to peers, people in recovery from a mental health disorder, and survivors of all form’s trauma, in addition to violent acts committed by people with an MSbP diagnosis. Community centers, mental health clinics, clubhouses, and mental health clinicians with a research interest in trauma. With this said, go ahead and purchase and read Mr. Lewis’s book today. Be prepared to journey with Mr. Lewis throughout his many years of healing and recovery.

Please contact Gregorio at survivingtheimpossible@gmail.com to pre-order a copy of the book.

Customers will be listed in the printed book’s acknowledgments section.

Thank you for making this peer-driven publication a success.
This story was originally published in
Victim To Victory: Change Starts With Your Story

Visit
https://sanityisafulltimejob.org/collections/craigs-books
for the collected works of Mr. Craig Lewis

About the Author

J. Peters

Max Guttman is the owner of Recovery Now, a private mental health practice in New York City. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, therapist, and disability rights advocate, Max fights for those without a voice in various New York City care systems. He received a ‘2020 Bearcats of the Last Decade 10 Under 10’ award from the Binghamton University Alumni Association.

Guttman treats clients with anxiety and depression but specializes in issues related to psychosis or schizoaffective spectrum disorders. He frequently writes about his lived experiences with schizophrenia.

‘I knew my illness was so complex that I’d need a professional understanding of its treatment to gain any real momentum in recovery,’ Guttman says. ‘After undergraduate school and the onset of my illness, I evaluated different graduate programs that could serve as a career and mechanism to guide and direct my self-care. After experiencing the helping hand of my social worker and therapist right after my ‘break,’ I chose social work education because of its robust skill set and foundation of knowledge I needed to heal and help others.’

‘In a world of increasing tragedy, we should help people learn from our lived experiences. My experience brings humility, authenticity, and candidness to my practice. People genuinely appreciate candidness when it comes to their health and Recovery. Humility provides space for mistakes and appraisal of progress. I thank my lived experience for contributing a more egalitarian therapeutic experience for my clients.’

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