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Posted March 28, 2012
Mr. James tells a beautiful story about a girl with schizophreni
Mr. James tells a beautiful story about a girl with schizophrenia who is afraid of losing herself if she loses the world she's lived in for so long. The world she lives in is painted by her hands in different colors and leads to heaven through a spot where the sun touches the ocean. She builds fairy coves and escapes the world through memories of the past. But she escapes too often, wanders away, loses all sense of time and space and finds herself unable to cope with the chaos of the real world.
This story is told from Sabrina's point of view. She has schizophrenia and is in a Wellness Center to get better. But there, she meets Alec who convinces her that everyone else is crazy and they are the sane ones. With that, he teaches her not to take her medication and the little bit of ground she gained at recovery, slips away. Seeing life through Sabrina's perspective is a heartbreaking experience.
Mr. James writes her version of the world poetically without being flowery with his words. It's beautiful and scary.
I enjoyed this story very much and recommend it for those who enjoy contemporary ya fiction.
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Posted March 31, 2012
Chapter by Chapter's review of Life Is But A Dream
This heart felt story, told in the eyes of main character Sabrina, shows us the world of Schizophrenia and the impact this disease has on everyone in Sabrina’s life.
Schizophrenia has always been a mystery to me. I’ve always been curious about it, and the different severities of it. Life Is But A Dream was the perfect book for me to get a grasp on what difficulties individuals who suffer from Schizophrenia go through, and also opened up my eyes to the difficulties that family members go through in trying to also understand it.
What did I learn? That it doesn’t start showing itself until puberty, that things can go seriously wrong if not treated and maintained with medication, that it cannot be cured – only treated.
It was very interested reading about it through Sabrina’s eyes. Seeing how she saw the world, what her thoughts were, and how we slowly saw what the effects are when medication is not taken. The writing style of Brian James did a fantastic job of explaining what Schizophrenia is minus all the medical jargon. As I was reading the story, bits and pieces of the movie Girl Interrupted would pop into my head, with the story basically revolving around life in a Wellness Centre/mental facility. The way that the events and surroundings were described, I could picture everything pretty vividly. When I closed my eyes, I could even see the drawings and art work that Sabrina creates in the book…all the colours and passion of which she used to create her art.
The characters that we are introduced to are unforgettable and will hold a special place in my heart. Especially Alec, who unbeknownst to him, didn’t realize that his actions would have a huge impact on Sabrina and her story. We get to see a very clear glimpse of the impact he has on Sabrina, and the cause and effect. I loved how we were shown brief flashbacks of Sabrina’s life prior to her diagnosis. It really helped to show the progression of the disease, and what signs Sabrina was presenting.
It was also interesting to see how Sabrina’s parents handled her disease. What it took for them to finally realize just how much help their daughter needed. And it was heartbreaking to see how cruel fellow friends and classmates treated Sabrina, knowing that something wasn’t quite right with her and yet playing on her innocence.
If you are just as curious about Schizophrenia as I am, Life Is But A Dream is the perfect book for you. If you are looking for a book that will open up your eyes and your heart, don’t hesitate in reading this one.
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Posted March 28, 2012
A solid 3.5, scattered but redeemable
I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.
This book is told 100% from Sabrina's point of view. And let me tell you, reading it, exhausted me. To constantly be in her world--in her mind--thinking what she thinks, experiencing and seeing what she does--it left me speechless; that there are actually people out there in the world living with this day in and day out. It's just amazing. I have a whole new appreciation for the amount of strength those people possess. Now, saying that (and I'm assuming James isn't pulling from experience, but I could be wrong), I can only imagine the strength and patience and talent James has to write Sabrina's story from inside her head for 239 pages. And in such constant detail. There wasn't a page or a paragraph that we weren't in her head, experiencing the colors or images. The details were amazing.
Throughout the story, Sabrina is struggling to come to terms with what it means to have schizophrenia and deciding how she wants to handle it. Deciding if the doctors know best or if she does or if a stranger does. I really enjoyed the way James played that entire internal struggle and the way he had the events unfold. To me, it was believable and fitting. James gives the reader great insight into why these people do what they do. You understand it and their actions start to make sense.
Now, onto the things I didn't appreciate so much.
I was so scattered inside Sabrina's head that I didn't get a chance to connect or empathize with her. Not until the very end, when my hopes and heart crushed along with hers. But that was only for a page or two, max. The relationship with Alec, to me, was entirely unbelievable. Now, that could be due to my ignorance of the disease (for example, I don't know if being schizophrenic makes you fall in love immediately, etc), but I have a very hard time believing she fell in love with him and he her in a day. I felt cheated, especially since Alec was such a driving force in her decisions and the propulsion in her story.
The novel is told in the present tense, from the Wellness Center, and then in flashes from Sabrina's past—events that led her to where she is today. But the flashbacks aren't linear, and while that wasn't life-shattering, it was a little confusing and jarring when I had to sit and try and place a memory in the timeline of Sabrina's life.
Like I said in my little blip for this book under Just Read…, the story didn't start getting interesting for me until the very end. And then it was over. The beginning was a little slow, and I felt a good chunk of the book was set up. It wasn't exactly boring, but I wasn't reading it because I just had to know what was going to happen next. It was more like, I needed to get to the end and write a review. It wasn't bad or boring content, but neither was it exciting or snappy. It was just everyday stuff that kept the story churning at a steady pace.
This next part could also be attributed to my lack of knowledge of schizophrenia, but throughout the story, I got this overwhelming feeling of immaturity from Sabrina, even though she's a senior in high school. If this is how the disease effects its victims, then WELL-STINKIN'-DONE, James. Well done indeed. Great job. If, however, it's not, then there needed to be some hefty work done on that. PS – I want to let you know that I called the ending of this book (or pretty stinking close to it) by page 90.
Overall, I enjoyed the no
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Posted September 22, 2013
Posted December 30, 2012