Skip to content
Biographies & Memoirs - Biographies Health, Mind & Body - Mental Health Staff Picks

$17.99 Regular price
Unit price

The Snipers We Couldn't See: A Memoir of Growing Up with My Mother's Schizophrenia

ISBN: 9781643438184
Binding: Paperback
Author: Karen Comba
Pages: 256
Trim: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Published: 3/22/2022

THE SNIPERS WE COULDN'T SEE is Karen Comba's memoir of rare power, a harrowing and intimate portrait of the far-reaching, generational effects of severe mental illness. Told with determination and searing honesty, this book recounts the shattering details of growing up as the prime target of her schizophrenic mother's mental and physical abuse.

Karen's story is sure to resonate with anyone who was the quiet child who quietly retreated in school—and who felt shame and anxiety as relatives, friends, and neighbors ran as far away as possible from her mother and the situation. Much like Jeanette Walls recounted about herself in The Glass Castle, Karen spent much of her adulthood hoping to bury her own history in the hope that nobody—especially herself—would find it.

Now in her sixties, Karen shares her story as a means to create a more frank dialogue to help heal and inform others. THE SNIPERS WE COULDN'T SEE is a story of survival that is as chilling as it is redemptive.


Karen Comba has dedicated her life to mental health advocacy. She has managed nursing homes and medical offices and has worked directly with those afflicted with mental illness for years. She was born in rural Nebraska and now lives in Castle Rock, Colorado, with her husband, Curt. She believes in "staying in your happy pond" and shows up every day to do just that.


"Karen Comba's heartfelt new book gives voice to the quiet kid in school who couldn't cry out for help. THE SNIPERS WE COULDN'T SEE will strike a chord with anyone whose childhood was defined and dictated by a parent or loved one with mental illness—and who becomes painfully aware of the damage that is carried well into adulthood. I salute Karen Comba for having taken us with her on this harrowing but ultimately victorious journey." - Wally Lamb, New York Times bestselling author of She's Come Undone and I Know This Much Is True (both selections of Oprah's Book Club)

"Regardless of the odds stacked against her and the challenges she faced, Karen Comba did not let her trauma define her. THE SNIPERS WE COULDN'T SEE is the story of how a child can prevail over circumstance." - Jim Fay, cofounder of Love and Logic Institute