Eight Stories Up: An Adolescent Chooses Hope Over Suicide

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DeQuincy A. Lezine, David Brent
Oxford University Press, with the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands and the Annenberg Public Policy Center
194 pages. $30 ($9.95 paperback).

As a college freshman, Lezine couldn’t find a book written by someone who had experienced his intense pain or, he says, could “ease my suffering in an empathetic, understanding way.” Twelve years after an intervention by friends put Lezine in the hospital before he could fulfill his plan to jump off an eight-story building, he wrote that book himself. Its opening, “Letter to the Reader in Crisis,” recommends getting “a second opinion about the decision to stop living.”

Now a specialist in suicide prevention, Lezine shares his college journal entries that portray his suicidal state. An African-American from Los Angeles, he was overwhelmed when transplanted to an Eastern Ivy League college. With the help of co-author Brent, a doctor, Lezine integrates his story with all aspects of suicide: warning signs, statistics, risk and protective factors, and biology. The book’s clear descriptions of types of therapists, medications and treatments demystify the healing process. Lezine’s survival offers hope: Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he maintains his health and spirits.

When youth workers and other caring adults place this lifesaving guide in young people’s hands, they are introducing a wise and caring friend. (800) 451-7556, http://www.oup.com.