I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  18,124 ratings  ·  505 reviews
Enveloped in the dark inner kingdom of her schizophrenia, sixteen-year-old Deborah is haunted by private tormentors that isolate her from the outside world. With the reluctant and fearful consent of her parents, she enters a mental hospital where she will spend the next three years battling to regain her sanity with the help of a gifted psychiatrist. As Deborah struggles t...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 7th 1989 by Signet (first published 1964)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia PlathGirl, Interrupted by Susanna KaysenThe Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins GilmanProzac Nation by Elizabeth WurtzelThe Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Women and Mental Illness
9th out of 442 books — 1,161 voters
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay AsherThe Fault in Our Stars by John GreenThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen ChboskySpeak by Laurie Halse AndersonLooking for Alaska by John Green
Best Teen Books About Real Problems
100th out of 1,608 books — 9,174 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Lisa Vegan
Jul 17, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in mental illness and adolescents, those who enjoy a good novel
I first read this in 1966 when I was 13 and in the 8th grade and it became my favorite book and remained my favorite book throughout high school. I reread it many times, although it's been years since my last reading.

This is a story of a young woman ages 16-19 who is suffering from severe mental illness (in the book she is diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia) in a mental hospital.

My understanding is that this book is based on a true story and the hospital was Chestnut Lodge and the psychiatr...more
Lee
Feb 04, 2010 Lee rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lee by: Lisa Vegan
This was a powerful and painful reading experience and not something I would have naturally gravitated to on my own. I chose to read this upon the recommendation of a friend and I'm very glad I did. I have no idea what the author's history is but she did a marvelous job at getting inside the head of a very disturbed girl who has been committed to a mental hospital. Reading this story reinforced my committment to never lie to my child. It brought back memories of my own teenage years and the lies...more
Brittni
To get below the surface of this book, one must invest himself/herself. This I was willing to do. As a fellow sufferer of mental illness to whatever degree, I long for memoirs of those who've gone through the same as me. It's easy to read a book without really getting it, and that's why the people in other reviews have given this book below five stars. They're quick to say it's boring, afraid of the cause the book gives for deep thinking, which they probably haven't been able to grasp. They're t...more
Arminzerella
When we meet Deborah, she’s on her way to a mental hospital. She’s two years short of finishing high school, and she’s recently been hospitalized for slitting her wrists. Her mother, at least, is aware that there’s something not quite right about Deborah, but she can’t really put her finger on what it is. A famous therapist agrees to work with Deborah to help her sort out her problems. Only pages into this novel, readers glimpse Deborah’s uniquely frightening psychological landscape – the land o...more
Victoria Hill
A moving, thought-provoking and inspiring account of a young girl's struggle with schizophrenia.

Following a suicide attempt, Debra, aged just 16, is committed to a mental hospital. Over the next three years she works with her psychiatrist to understand her illness and explores the possibility of mental health. Her precarious progress is punctuated by periods where she falls back into the terror of her illness.

I first read this book as a healthy twenty year old with high hopes for my future, an...more
Rachel
This is a brilliant book and perhaps deserves more than three stars, but there are certainly problems, most having to do with our better understanding of schizophrenia in more recent times. As a historical document, the book powerfully represents a world in which large industrial-size mental hospitals were considered advanced, state-of-the-art facilities. Seclusion rooms and cold packs (trapping a patient in ice-cold sheets) were also considered constructive treatments, as was intensive psychoan...more
Laurelina
I read this book for an undergrad class assignment and I loved it. This book represents the real thoughts of a person diagnosed with Schizophrenia. What I've read is that the author of this book is actually the protagonist of the story. She was a 16 year old dianosed with this degenerative illness that affects the person as well as others around them. She was dianosed when the mere mention of this illness would cause confusion and guilt to parents who thought that somehow they were at fault for...more
Grace
I read this for a Developmental Psychopathology class and ended up really enjoying it. The purpose of the assignment was to examine the state of the science on schizophrenia both at the time of publication (1964) and today, and the ways in which the public's views of schizophrenia may have been shaped through reading this novel.

Today as in the 1960s, mental illness carries a highly negative social stigma. Greenberg presents a humanized view of mental illness with a focus on the painful experien...more
Yakup  Öner
Tüm insanların tamamen sağlıklı olduklarına inanmadığımdan ve de günlük belirli boyutlarda psikolojik tramvalar yaşadıklarından, bu tarz eserler bazen bizim bir miktar iç dünyalarımızın yansıtırlar.Böylelikle Dr.Fried'ın Deborah'a söylediği ''Sana Gül Bahçesi Vadetmedim.'' cümlesi yerinde olmuştur.Ki biz buna benzer serzenişleri günlük yaşamımızda çok fazla söyleyip ve yahut duymuşuzdur.Aslında Doğa'da yanlızlığımız bize hatırlatılmakta, savaşın kendimizin savaşı olduğunu bilmemiz gerektiğini ve...more
Sandra
Oct 06, 2007 Sandra added it
Shelves: advisory2007-08
There were so many big words in this book, but i got through it and i was satisfied with the ending. It's about the three years a teenage girl, Deborah, spends at an asylum. Throughout the book, she constantly retreats to an imaginary world that she created to block out what she couldn't accept in the real world. Her time at the asylum wasn't at all bad because she made new friends and those were the only true friends she ever had. I think the friendship she built at the time gave her a reason t...more
Dad
"[I like the] fine old word asylum that suggests a haven, a refuge, a place where hospitality and restfulness prevail." -George A Zeller MD, of Peoria State Hospital

Joanne Greenberg was hospitalized for schizophrenia from 1948 to 1951. She was lucky. This was before the introduction of the pharmaceuticals that are the sum total of psychiatry today. It was after the craze for lobotomies and shock treatments (can you believe they gave the Nobel Prize to the guy who invented lobotomies?) She was lu...more
Joe
May 04, 2010 Joe rated it 1 of 5 stars
Shelves: crap
This is such a stupid book. I read it in high school and it was one of those books that was so bad I couldn't pry myself from it.

It's partly because I'd seen so much mental illness in my own family that gave me such a significant desire to see something somehow more substantial but this effort just feels entirely shallow to me. The therapist was just bad. I mean Bad. BAD. Horrible. What an unhelpful, cold BITCH. I mean, she is portrayed rather heroically but it's rare that I want to reach throu...more
Helynne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I. S.
I first read this book as a young teen, probably not more than 14 years after it was published. I remember being fascinated by Deborah's internal world of Yr more than anything else. To the best of my knowledge I am not mentally ill, but I was socially awkward and lived in my own head so much I remember even trying to see if I could find my way into Yr, not truly grasping that it was a construct Deborah had made up to protect herself from the world.

Re-reading it now, as an adult, I'm aware of al...more
Alana
This book was...so unlike anything I have ever read.
It was about a mental patient, and how she struggles to be "normal" again. She gets worse, and her parents start to get worried, but she's getting through the peak of her sickness. Then she's transfered back to B ward, and soon released. Deborah explains that she doesn't see "average" people as average. She sees them as lucky. Soon she starts to open her eyes to the world around her and she talks through her "problems" with Dr. Fried aka Furii....more
Megan Fermo
First off, I'll ask you now, judging by the title what did YOU expect?

I wasn't expecting any action. No, not in the slightest. but that title...I don't know why but first time I read it ('twas during my mental illness literature phase)I was like, Wow, I'm definitely giving that a go.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden...it's not a special title but there's a little something magnetic about it.

Here's the possible tale that ran through my mind. The protagonist (let's call her Anna), who is schizo...more
Muna
I Never Promised You A Rose Garden made me think about my own health and sanity. I took the trip with Deborah, discovering those demons as if they were my own. The details tend to do that to you. They capture you, and just like that, you are involved. I felt myself get better with her, step by step, and by the time I reached the last chapters - I was begging her to see the light and let herself heal completely, because it's what I would've wanted for myself at that point. The book was pretty dar...more
Jenny
I was surprised by this book. I knew that it was about a young girl with mental illness, but I didn't expect it to feel so real or myself to feel so connected to Deborah. I somehow forgot that the story was being told about Deborah rather than by her. Every time I remembered, it was jarring in a way. That's the skill of Greenberg because the reader inhabits Deborah's thoughts then is forced out of them when the narrative switches to Dr. Fried's point of view or to Jacob and Esther's point of vie...more
The Goon
"I Never Promised You a Rose Garden," is a beautiful book based on a true story. Knowing that this is a retelling of the authors own experience as a sufferer of mental illness lends credibility to all aspects of the tale.
Contrary to the current belief that most metal illnesses are life long diseases that forever need managing, it's amazing to discover that there are people who have recovered from schizophrenia--the most frightening mental illness of all. Not only that, but the details provided...more
elisha
Jul 10, 2010 elisha rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who doesn't shy away from mental health
I read this book when I was a young girl, probably around age 11.
While for my memory, it's like reading this book for the first time, there is a part of me that responds to this book like it's an old friend.
I find it lyrical.
Passages like, "The horror of the Pit lay in the emergence from it, with the return of her will, her caring, and her feeling of the need for meaning before the return of the meaning itself". How well this captures depression and why people shut themselves off. Disassociatio...more
Crystal Marcos
This is a bit different from books I have read. I heard of the book before, but hadn't ever read it. Upon a friends recommendation, I got the book. This story is based on a true story. My edition includes a "Afterward". I found it fascinating to read this section of the book after completing the story. I won't spoil it for you, but lets just say that the author has obviously overcome adversities.

A story of a teen who wants what every normal teen wants; to fit in and have a normal life. Debra is...more
Sonia Gomes
Jul 11, 2014 Sonia Gomes rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone, the grit and determination are amazing
I have great respect for people battling mental illness, I truly believe that between the sane and mentally troubled the line is very fine.
What tips you on the other side? Maybe an insignificant fact. Who knows, what experiences each one of us hides in our hearts or the scars of our mind.
My brave friend, who still battles it, is a person to be admired. Even in her darkest moments she held on to a job, paid the mortgage of her house that her estranged husband now occupies!
Irony of fate, yes, tha...more
Sevil
Çok güzel bir romandı, kimi eleştirilerde edebi değeri olmayan bir psikoloji kitabı olduğunu falan yazmışlar, şu kendini beğenmiş edebiyat eleştirmenlerine dil çıkarmak istiyorum. Sanırım şizofreniyle ilgili okuduğum en iyi kitaptı ve bir roman olarak da epey beğendim.
E. Chainey (Bookowski)
E. Chainey (Bookowski) is currently reading it
Apr 27, 2014
Beyza
‘Acı çeken birini görmeye dayanamıyorum’ derler, ‘onun için git dışarıda öl!’
Matt
Oct 07, 2007 Matt rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mrs. Chilson
I learned that when a book is so bad, you forget everything about it.
T. Edmund
With an almost clinical detachment Greenberg explores the semi-autobiographical of a young teen institutionalized and accused of schizophrenia. This is one of those novels that is obviously good, even if one does not enjoy it. Emotional depth and literary skill are present along with striking imagery and pain.

Nonetheless I personally found the tale difficult to buy into. The first scene felt like the strongest, then I wasn't sure who to root for: the conflicted parents, the tormented young girl,...more
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
I am uncertain about this book. In some aspects, I did enjoy it and found parts of it interesting - the author certainly made some good points surrounding the morals and stigma related to mental illness. I was drawn to the book due to the fact it was concerning mental illness and I do think that it portrayed some of the struggles quite well. It was interesting to me how one can relate to certain ideas or thoughts put forward in this book even though it is set in the past. I particularly liked re...more
Kayla
Sep 28, 2012 Kayla rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kayla by: Some girl on a mental health forum
I really didn't like this book as much as I though I would. The only reason I'm giving it 2 stars is A.) Schizophrenia is a subject of interest to me and I really like learning as much as I can about the disease. and B.) I liked every character except Deborah.

It was slow-paced and hard to follow. Deborah Blau as a character is not very interesting. She's awfully apathetic. I mean, I understand that she's insane, but my god, she's the most boring mentally ill person I've ever heard of. A lot of t...more
Cortney
"I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" is abotu a mental ward patient named Deborah. Deborah, or Deb, is a normal Jewish teenager but she has a secret. She is able to escape to a secret world with its own launage. A cry for help took form of cuts that her parents found out about. I can relate to her cry for help and find it amazing that she was able to cry out in such a strong manner, though she doesn't believe so.During her stay at the hospital she is finally able to open up and make friends, som...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: Hiding hallucinations of Tenebrae creature [s] 3 32 Sep 29, 2013 10:49PM  
Haters 3 31 Aug 15, 2013 09:54PM  
  • Lisa, Bright and Dark
  • Dibs in Search of Self
  • Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Skin Game
  • The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness
  • Life Inside: A Memoir
  • Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental Hospital
  • The Flock: The Autobiography of a Multiple Personality
  • Angelhead: My Brother's Descent into Madness
  • The Snake Pit
  • The Best Little Girl in the World
  • Madness: A Bipolar Life
  • Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide
  • Switching Time: A Doctor's Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with 17 Personalities
  • Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl
  • A Shining Affliction: A Story of Harm and Healing in Psychotherapy
  • Thin
  • Crazy All the Time: On The Psych Ward of Bellevue Hospital
25366
Joanne Greenberg, also known as Hannah Green, is a writer whose style lends itself to the mature reader yet simultaneously presents themes suitable for all ages. Greenberg addresses the persistent doubts that plague all of us by relating stories of others in need. Though the scenarios in which her characters find themselves may be unfamiliar to the average reader, the emotions they feel while enme...more
More about Joanne Greenberg...
In This Sign Of Such Small Differences The Dead of the House Where the Road Goes No Reck'ning Made

Share This Book

“There is nothing that you can do to me that my own craziness doesn't do to me smarter and faster and better.” 53 likes
“The people on the edge of Hell were most afraid of the devil; for those already in hell the devil was only another and no one in particular.” 30 likes
More quotes…