This page features reviews of the book.

Broken Brain -- Review

by Ashley LaMar 5/4/13

In his 2012 release, Expecting the Broken Brain to Do Mental Pushups, Dave Elder discussed the experiences that led him to understanding the behaviors of his schizophrenic mother, the drug- and alcohol-addicted friends he met during his youth and his depressed love "M." It's a sad memoir of trying to learn, and live with, psychiatric disorders that can't be seen, touched, or truly understood.

Throughout the book Elder compares someone suffering from a psychiatric disorder, such as schizophrenia, to someone with a broken arm. He frequently refers to having a psychiatric disorder as having a broken brain. Read the complete blog post online.

One Man's True Story

by Fran Lewis at Just Reviews 2/28/13

Take a piece of blown glass or a fragile porcelain doll, hold it in your hands and gently place it on a glass table. Within the pieces of this glass the delicate workmanship, the craftsmanship of the doll needs to be handled with care, gentle precision and calm in order to prevent it from cracking, chipping or shattering. The mind is fragile and something simple or more complex can shatter a person's life, cause their mind to be unable to function in the read world and sometimes even revert into their own. Dave Elder knew from the age of three that his mother's mind was delicate, often hard to reach her inner most thoughts and hoped that she would someday return and be his real mom. Read the complete review online.

My Take on a Book

Blog post by Nancy Propsner 4/9/13

This is a book that will bring much comfort and relief to those associated in any way with mental health illness. Very much like a friend to help navigate the sometimes scary and very confusing world of mental health illness. The author Dave Elder in his new book, Expecting the Broken Brain to Do Mental Pushups: A Personal Journey to Understanding Schizophrenia and Depression, shares with his readers, not only what it's like to grow up with a mother who is schizophrenic, but also to share life with his girlfriend with major depression. He captures our hearts with his deep delve into his life as a musician, intertwining that with the world of mental health. Read the complete blog post.

Mental Pushups

Blog post by Suzy Watts 4/27/13

The title and stated content of this book, at first glance, would seem to be suited to a medical professional looking for a case study to further their knowledge. How wrong that notion would be. Though there are many medical and psychiatric references and opinions, this is an autobiography by the son of someone who suffered from the ailments in the title, and how he and his family learned to cope with them. In fact, the author endeavoured to gain an insight into his mother's problems over many years and a great deal of investigation, and this knowledge is shared with the reader in an entertaining and absorbing manner. Read the complete blog post.

Required Reading for Psychiatry Students

by With-a-T posted on 4/15/13

Dave Elder's new book, Expecting the Broken Brain to Do Mental Pushups, should be on your required reading list if you are about to begin your career as a psychiatrist. Why? Not because you'll discover anything about psychiatry that your professors and text books haven't already taught you -- Elder makes no claim to have discovered anything new about your chosen field. However, Mr. Elder will give you a quick crash course, in a little over 100 pages, about how much, and in how many ways, the caregivers of your patients will misunderstand them, your explanations about them and your recommendations for their care. Forewarned is forearmed, and in this case it'll cost you less than $10.

broken brain review

by Nurse Nancy posted on 4/9/13

This book was very well written. It got inside the mind of someone who experienced living with a close relative with schizophrenia. It was written simply and with clarity, and brought home just what goes on inside a person's head when they hear voices, or seem like 2 different people. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand how a broken brain works and how difficult it is to mend it.

Making Mysteries Less Mystic


If someone close to you suffers from schizophrenia, depression or bipolar disorder, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of Expecting the Broken Brain to Do Mental Pushups. In the space of a little over 100 pages, Elder covers a lot of ground, and you probably have found yourself in some of the same places that he did in your own struggle to understand the mysteries of someone with a mental disorder. This book can help to give you a much clearer view of that troubled family member or friend who suffers from such issues.

A Perceptive and Thoughtful Journey

by entertaining guest (Binghamton, NY) posted on 12/16/12

Dave Elder's memoir of his growing understanding of his mother's schizophrenia is an engagingly written account of how he came to this place of acceptance. The early chapters describe the confusion and mystery he felt as a child when his mother "went off the deep end." Later, as he lived apart from his family, he continued to gather information on what exactly had gone on and what he would need to understand to be his mother's caregiver. One of the best parts of this book is that unlike many memoirs written today, Mr. Elder embraces a notion of discretion that allows him to tell his story without betraying the lives of others. Quietly and thoughtfully, the author makes an impassioned argument for how we must treat those among us who suffer these "broken brains."