This is a sensitive and accurate portrayal of a young person's struggle with schizophrenia. Having once been friends with a 20-something who suffered...moreThis is a sensitive and accurate portrayal of a young person's struggle with schizophrenia. Having once been friends with a 20-something who suffered from this illness, I recognize the tedium and frustration of the main character's friends and loved ones trying to relate to his burgeoning paranoia and delusions. This is not a romantic illness by any means. Mostly, the sufferers delusions are obsessive and get very boring. This eloquent little novel managed to convey that very well, in spite of (or perhaps because of) being written from the point of the view of the mentally ill person. The author deftly handled the gradual progression of Manz' paranoia. At first, he worries he might be imagining the sights and sounds of his delusions but gradually, he falls under the sway of the voices to the point where he trusts no one. Simultaneously, he recognizes that he needs the people he is trying to cut ties with. His need to sever his ties of family and friendship has to do with his delusion that he is being watched in a way that puts those closest to him in danger. Conversely, he mistrusts the very people he wishes to protect. His lucid moments of self-awareness of his need for a contact with reality are at the heart of what makes his struggle so heartbreaking. A warning, this story does not have a pat, feel-good, ending.
Earlier in the review, I mention that I was once friends with a person who suffered from schizophrenia. It was not I who cut of relationships but my friend. Even on his meds he was eccentric and could at times be rather tedious in his delusions, in spite of also being immensely talented as an artist. However, during the year or so that I was friends with him, his behaviour was fairly well controlled and maintained a reasonably normal quality of life. Sadly, he went of his meds, through a brick through the large picture window of a popular trendy pizza place and before he was arrested managed to walk away and go back and through another brick through the remaining window. After that he was hospitalized for awhile and I didn't see him for months. When I finally did run into him again, it was a chance meeting nowhere near any of his usual haunts. He had been living with his parents and was much subdued. He had been a brilliant surrealist cartoonist but when asked if he was making any new strips he simply replied that he wasn't drawing any more because, "they won't let me". My friend and i were not able to ascertain whether 'they' referred to his parents and doctors, or the angels that made up a big part of his delusions. He had also become very religious. He had always been fascinated by angels but as a young gay man in the 90's he also had previously a slightly 'hedonist' sensibility and wore quite flamboyant clothing, mostly hand decorated by himself. His angel fixation had really come to a head shortly before the incident with the pizza place. He would discuss angels with me to the point of sheer tedium. I recall a day when I attempted a normal conversation with him at a favorite cafe and i just could not get him off the topic of angels. Finally, I said, "Dave, I love you. I've missed you. But I just cannot talk another minute about angels." Mistake. He abruptly got up, and without another word, left the cafe. At our last meeting, none of his originality and flamboyance was apparent. It was quite sad to witness. A month or so after that meeting I received a very conventional, store bought Christmas card with a Bible verse from him, signed with his actual name. Formerly he had gone by a couple of different pseudonyms for his strip. Somewhere, I still have a card from a few years previous to this time that featured one of his highly decorated signature angels and was flamboyantly signed "Dave Urbane". (less)
As well as the very obvious environmental theme the author seems to be using this series to make some kind of statement about anti-fat bias. Either th...moreAs well as the very obvious environmental theme the author seems to be using this series to make some kind of statement about anti-fat bias. Either that, or she was on a diet the whole time she was writing. I got so tired of Nevare's loving descriptions of the food he was eating. I kept reading because I like the supporting characters and kept hoping something would happen. Nevare is so wishy-washy. He is constantly resolving to make changes only to slide back into indecisiveness by the next chapter. It gets dreary. I'm going to attempt the third book because I have the time and I'm a fast reader. I love Ms.Hobbs' other books. I've read the first Dragon Keeper book and am looking forward to the next two but I feel like I need to get this trilogy out of my system first. Oh yes, and you have to get through a boring and unnecessary re-hash from the first book at the beginning, something she hasn't done before. (less)
This was a case in which I saw the movie before reading the book. The movie is one of the creepiest, scariest films I've ever seen. This book did not...moreThis was a case in which I saw the movie before reading the book. The movie is one of the creepiest, scariest films I've ever seen. This book did not disappoint. (less)