Liza Long, the Idaho mother who wrote an essay titled “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has scored a book deal.
Long is writing a book titled I Am Michael’s Mother, which will detail the poor state of the mental health care system. It will also focus on Long’s struggle to raise a mentally ill, but bright, child as a single mother.
Long first published her essay on her blog The Anarchist Soccer Mom on December 14, the day 20-year-old Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, killing 20 children and six adult staff members. Lanza had previously killed his mother Nancy at their home and later committed suicide when first responders arrived at the scene.
Long wrote about how she loves her son but is terrified of him and how he once threatened to kill her and himself when she asked him to return some overdue library books.
“His 7 and 9 year old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to,” Long wrote. “I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me.”
Long said she doesn’t know what exactly is wrong with her 13-year-old son, whether he has ADHD, IED, or an autism spectrum disorder. And even though the knife incident — and other incidents — ended with police and paramedics being called, Long refused to follow a social worker’s advice and file charges against her son.
“I don’t believe my son belongs in jail … According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population,” Long wrote. She added that the the stigma of mental illness and the broken health care system “does not provide us with other options.” She then added that it was time to have a “meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health.”
Long’s essay went viral and did indeed spark a discussion about mental illness. Some, like the Washington Times‘ Jacqueline Marshall, felt mental illness wasn’t the reason behind the Sandy Hook shooting. On the opposite side of the argument, The Daily Beast published a companion piece to Long’s essay about a young man who also suffered from mental illness and went on to become a successful college graduate who is gainfully employed.
At this point in time, there is no release date set for I Am Michael’s Mother, but the book will be published by Hudson Street Press.
Did you read Liza Long’s essay? Will you be reading I Am Michael’s Mother?
[Photo credit: Liza Long / Twitter]