After that, I got epilepsy, and the Dark came to me."" This is a line from the seventh-grade autobiography of Checkers, the Whites' son, who first showed the unmistakable signs of epilepsy (there were earlier intimations) at the age of eight. It is a disease with many forms and variations (16 kinds) which sometimes disappears altogether, sometimes intensifies and results in total psychotic deterioration, and always is stigmatized whether by the law or society. Checkers before long became the school ""punching bag,"" and he always worsened in direct relation to others, both teachers and students. In between there were the salvific measures taken by the Whites -- Robin White (a novelist you will surely remember) took them all on a trip to India and in the summers took them mountain climbing in the Sierra no matter how dangerous -- Checkers was always on drugs and in between neurologists and psychiatrists who did and often could do little. Then there were those drugs which either souped him up or slowed him down. In spite of everything, there was the steady decline of speech, vision, memory, and coordination and the equally steady withdrawal from reality -- Checkers became violent and schizophrenic. Mr. White tells this story of the ever extending dark with an unretouched candor on one-to-one vulnerable terms which should involve a great many people. It should stand up along side of timelessly immediate other books of its kind, most recently Paul West's Words for a Deaf Daughter.