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.
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.
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***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***
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