Authors Patrick Cockburn and Henry Cockburn collaborated on a memoir entitled Henry’s Demons detailing the effect of Henry’s schizophrenia on both himself and his family. Author John Wray’s novel Lowboy is an inside view of the psyche of a teenager with schizophrenia. Both books attempt to educate the reader about how schizophrenia affects people and how society treats them. They attempt to give the reader an inside view into the realities of schizophrenia with the hopes that if people are more educated about the illness, they will treat those afflicted with it better and awareness about the poor state of treatment facilities will be brought to light.
The two books differ in that one is a memoir, Henry’s Demons, and the other is a novel, Lowboy. The memoir is important because it provides a true life account about having schizophrenia and how the illness affects families. People going through a similar situation can relate to the real life scenarios, possibly changing their perspective on their circumstances. People unfamiliar with schizophrenia can also gain insight into one family’s experience with the illness making it less enigmatic, allowing them to be more sympathetic to people with schizophrenia. Even though Lowboy is a novel, it can still give the reader insight into schizophrenia while still entertaining them. Lowboy is written in a more creative manner with the author creating dialogue and thought processes. Because the main character is fictional, the reader can gain perspective on schizophrenia from a different dimension that Henry’s Demons can’t accomplish. The thoughts William Heller has and the conversations and interactions he experiences can be more thoroughly recorded that Henry Cockburn’s because Cockburn is relying on memory whereas Heller is a creation of the author John Wray. Both books attempt to illuminate the inner thoughts of a person with schizophrenia, each accomplishing this goal in a different manner.