Maxene Shank was born one Saturday afternoon at three o’clock on May 31,1919. She entered this world in the front parlor of her mother’s childhood antebellum home near Broadway, Virginia. She lived with her parents in the country until she was seven and then the family moved to Harrisonburg, Virginia. Maxene graduated from Harrisonburg High School in 1937 and from Madison College, now named James Madison University, in 1941 with a Batchelor of Science degree. She has continued her academic education through the years and has had fun collecting many extra college credits.
Senator Bob Graham, February 9, 2005, when signing his book, Intelligence Matters, wrote, "To Maxene, to an author who really knows how to write. In person and in works, you demonstrate that indeed intelligence does matter."
Elsa McKeithan, Ph.D., author of Writing the Stories of your Life, How to Turn Memories into Memoir, writes that Maxene Kleier in Possessed Mentalities describes her life from experiencing a pleasant childhood on a Virginia dairy farm, to marrying a doctor and having his imperfect child while he was in World War II, to moving to Florida and discovering that two of her treasured daughters suffered from schizophrenia, which showed up in their teens. Kleier details the efforts made to treat schizophrenia, the discouragement, and the lack of knowledge about the disease. She does not flinch from the heartbreak she experienced when she found her daughter Jyl murdered. For all its horror, this book has poignancy and a beauty that are heightened by its authenticity. Kleier is an extraordinary woman. Her credentials include efforts to create new treatment options and to change mental health laws to protect the sufferer and society; yet in this book she shares her personal story. A must-read for health professionals as well as for the general reader.”
Mark Vonnegut, M.D., Author of Eden Express comments, “Maxene Kleier has written a book that will astound and educate you and finally broaden your knowledge of mental illness and what it is to be human. In a psychotic delusional state one of her daughters stabbed and killed another daughter who also suffered from mental illness. Most people, I think, would have just collapsed and folded rather than deal with a tragedy so immense and close. Maxene Kleier went on because she had to. We are the richer because she also went on to write a remarkably clear- eyed very readable account of what mental illness is and how she has fought to save her family and herself. It is a story of remarkable grace under pressure”.“
"In POSSESSED MENTALITIES, Maxene Kleier has written with great honesty and insight about the most difficult of subjects. Her work is a tribute to the regenerative powers of the human spirit to overcome what should destroy it. Hers is an unflinching look at heartbreak and the ultimate horror a mother can face--the death of a daughter at the hands of another daughter. Hers is a fascinating story, a healing story, a triumph of the best a human being has to offer." Pamela Uschuk, Director of the Salem College Center for Women Writers and author of ONE-LEGGED DANCER and SCATTERED RISKS