Monday, March 5, 2012

Life is But a Dream By Brian James

Genre:  YA Contemporary
Expected publication date:  March 27, 2012

Description (taken from Goodreads):
Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced that it's the world that's crazy, not them. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself.

Let me start by saying if you haven't read a book regarding schizophrenia, I wouldn't suggest you start with this one.  Unless maybe you've read Brian James' other books, however this was my first Brian James book (not my first on schizophrenia though).  Also, if you're looking for a big climax and resolution, you're not going to find it in this book (other than the usual resolution to take the medications). So why read these books?  They give a different view of the world and of life.  It lets you see how people deal with difficult things in life.

We see Sabrina in a clinical setting being treated for schizophrenia.  However, she sees the small, insignificant parts of life as beautiful (like the sky, the trees, or the birds).  She doesn't have the best grasp on reality because she's stuck in the details of the world (at least that's how I saw it).  Then Alec comes along and convinces her that the doctors are trying to change her into a mindless, complier like everyone else in the world.  Let's just say, things eventually spiral out of control.

I really loved the descriptions in this book.  They make the world seem beautiful.  The flashbacks in Sabrina's life helped explain a little about how sick Sabrina was and how she dealt with things that would normally traumatize people.  It certainly makes you question whether the basic belief that 'you're either right or wrong and there's no in between' is an accurate assessment.

I felt there were a few spots in the book where I could relate with the character.  However, there wasn't enough flashbacks or descriptions to explain the schizophrenia.  I know Sabrina was sick, but it was hard to be able to put myself in her shoes without jumping through gaps that I wanted more explanations on.  And that is why I can't recommend this book to people who have never read a schizophrenia novel.  This book is a good read, but it's super slow and I feel there are holes that never get addressed.

Thanks goes to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and Netgalley for providing me a review copy of this book.

Challenges:  Young Adult Reading Challenge

1 comment:

  1. So funny because my review of this book is up today too.

    I will agree with you on the descriptions. They were phenomenal and it was intriguing to see things from her mind.

    This is only the second illness type book I've read in a long while and so I don't have much to compare it to, but I will agree that it's frustrating that the only outcome in these books seems to be taking medication (or in some cases, the character just dies).

    Jenny at Books to the Sky


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