ExLibris_Kate's Reviews > Life is But a Dream

Life is But a Dream by Brian James
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Mar 16, 2012

really liked it
Read from March 16 to 28, 2012

Life Is But A Dream is told from the perspective of a teen who is in a treatment facility after being diagnosed with acute schizophrenia. In bits and pieces, you learn of the circumstances that brought her to the facility and the confusion she experiences as she tries to separate reality from the colorful world that exists inside her mind. When Alec comes into the picture, it seems like a chance for a something good, but his own anger against his reasons for being there start to influence Sabrina in negative ways. The imagery and symbols that Sabrina attaches to people and things is described in fluid and colorful writing. It's an enchanting world in some ways, but you can;t help but hold back and wonder where the bottom of the well is for Sabrina.


I found this book to be fascinating and heartbreaking. Being in Sabrina's head is disorienting and beautiful, in its way. I can see how she found comfort in her ability to disappear from the world as her illness started to take over and make everything so confusing. Alec's role in her downward spiral was horrifying for me, but I was surprised at how sympathetic a character he turned out to be by the end of the book. Since I'm reading this as an adult, I really felt for Sabrina's parents. I could feel their helplessness through Sabrina's observations of their reactions to her increasingly strange behavior. The flashbacks to happier and more stable times broke my heart right in half. This book was a very intense reading experience because of the point of view and because you really didn't know if things would ever really get better for Sabrina. Although the ending wasn't sad, it wasn't tied in a neat little bow, either, and I think that made the book even more powerful.
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