Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Memoirs from the Asylum

Kenneth Weene

What is it like to work inside a state hospital or to be a patient in such a hospital?  What is it like to live inside the mind of such a patient?  This tragi-comic novel takes the reader inside the asylum, inside the worlds of three central characters: a narrator who has taken refuge from his fears of the world, a psychiatrist whose own life has been damaged by his father's depression, and a catatonic schizophrenic whose world is trapped inside a crack in the wall opposite her bed.  This is the interwoven story of their lives, a story that includes love, sexuality, violence, deaths, celebrations, circuses, and surprising twists.

My Take:

I've never actually been inside a mental health facility, but whenever I see one on TV or movies, the atmosphere always seems cool, detached, calm.  However there is always an undercurrent of chaos swirling just below the surface, ready to burst at a moments notice, which when it does, it is often violent and quickly quelled.  The writing of this books mirrors this very atmosphere.  The writing itself is very mellow and smooth, with that sinister feeling brewing underneath.  Sometimes the author will state something quite frightening which knocks you off balance, but quickly reverts back to the calm to leave you feeling a bit disoriented.  I was hooked right from the beginning, but at times the subject matter got a bit too heavy for me, Overall it was really good because it was balanced out with humor throughout the book.  The mentally ill in the book narrate their day to day lives in a very matter of fact manner, which makes the writing feel very real and authentic.  The pacing of the book is great and the characters are endlessly intriguing.  It shows so many of them to be very self aware, despite their illnesses such as schizophrenia.  If the world of mental illness is interesting to you, I very much recommend this book.  2, Borders with a Coupon. 

Do you agree with my review?  Do you think I'm totally off base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!

If this book were a movie it would be rated R for language, violence and sexual content




***FTC Disclosure:  This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review, no other compensation was given, all opinions are my own***

If you are interested in purchasing Memoirs from the Asylum, please consider supporting The Book Buff by purchasing from the following Amazon link, thank you!














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8 comments:

Kat said...

This sounds interesting. I liked your review, I think I'm going to have to get a copy of this book.

Becky said...

It really does sound like an interesting book. It would be interesting to read about what it might be like inside a mental facility and I am a huge fan of memoir's so I know that I would probably love it! I actually just finished reading another great memoir titled, "There's Something About Daniel," by Robyn Stecher which gave me an idea of what a mother with special needs goes through. It really is quite interesting to see into the minds and the lives of others.

Thanks for the book suggestion. "Memoirs of the Asylum" is now on my must read list.

Sam said...

Sounds like an interesting topic for a book...

Have you read 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?'

Sam

Jenn said...

This book sounds super intriguing. I'm going to have to pick it up... love these types of books, movies, tv, etc. They pull on my heart (help remind me I have one), but also seem to be one of the true story-types that show true human nature, without going overboard about specific serial killers, fantastic investigators, or writing about supernatural phenomena... humans are interesting enough. :) Thanks for the review!

Nikki-ann said...

I haven't heard of this before, but it does sound interesting.

I've had a very limited amount of connection with mental health facilities... My Dad used to be a painter & decorator at the local hospitals and when I was a kid there was a number of mental health facilities in the area (they've all since closed). On bonfire night (Guy Fawkes Night) we'd go to 1 of the mental health facilities to see the bonfire & fireworks and, of course, the patients (mostly long term) would be there too. As a kid, I was always very weary of them (I'd always hide behind my Dad if anyone started talking to me!).

Anyway, a great review, thanks :)

P.S. - Here from Book Blogs!

cottonfieldfarm said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! I love your reviews. Will be back to see more!
thanks,
Regina

Kerry McCullough said...

Hi there! Thanks for the comment on 20 something bloggers. I'm your newest follower and looking forward to finding out about some good books.

My blog is http://www.nestingwithniall.blogspot.com. Stop by any time :)

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I haven't heard of this one before -- will definitely have to check this out!

And I'm at http://coffeeandabookchick.blogspot.com -- I don't remember how I got to your site, but I'm now following!!

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