Jack and Jill Reed never dreamed of running a mental health facility. Far from it. They were nerdy hippies who were better suited to be flower growers. But as life happened and dreams changed, and by way of unforeseen circumstances, they found themselves at the helm of one of the most unique mental health facilities in the country. The Reed’s credo was that patients should be allowed to find their own happiness.
At the Reed’s Northern Lights mental health facility, the patients mingle freely with the staff and each other. Some of the personalities are quiet and contemplative, some inappropriately humorous, and a few seductive and sexual. But all are on a shared path that will lead them, and the staff, on the road toward self-discovery and self-destruction. And, in the end, the only sanity they will discover, is that which lies in the disequilibrium of love.
|Publisher:||Incorgnito Publishing Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Emma Janson was born in Ohio but left to join the Army when she turned 17. She served for six years at Fort Huachuca, Arizona and Hanau, Germany. After leaving the Army, she moved briefly to Ohio and then to Las Vegas to enroll in the National Guard while also attending UNLV. To pay for college, Emma became a dancer and a mud-wrestler until the National Guard finally recognized her request to release her, so she could rejoin active duty. Before Emma could rejoin the service, she had to go back “into the closet” after having announced her status as gay the prior year.
Emma served honorably as a member of the Airborne and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. She was medically retired in 2015 and now lives back in Ohio with her twin daughters where, time permitting, she pursues her love for writing. Discovering Sanity marks Emma’s third book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I met the Author on the Army base in NY and we talked a LONG time about very personal things because she was so friendly. (Amazing person!) That led into a conversation about her books. She gave me a copy of Discovering Sanity which she wrote in her worst year of PTSD. Not only did she give me hope but the book was filled with tender moments, advice, profound lines that made me think and it was appropriately balanced with laughable moments and happy upswings. Emma, touched me as a person and her book was fantastic. I look forward to seeing her rise in her career and will purchase her other books to see what I have been missing.
Every reason to read Emma Janson’s Discovering Sanity is summed up in the following line of dialogue: “Sometimes people just need free fish.” This line, spoken by Sam Jenkins, one of the residents of Northern Lights Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in the days before his admittance, speaks to the humor and warmth infused in every page of this novel. It speaks to the way everyone—in the novel, in life—has their own struggles, whether with mental illness, addictive behavior, family difficulties, unspeakable loss, and heartbreak. And we all need a little humor, warmth, and care at those times—free fish. The center of the plot is Ignacio Cheyez and his fractured relationship with his mother, Juana, who tried to kill him along with the rest of her family by setting fire to her fifteenth birthday party. Found not guilty by reason of insanity, she disappears into The System for most of Ignacio’s life, which drives him to cultivate his own façade of instability so he can follow her into The System and perhaps reunite with her. Of course, the longer Ignacio fakes his illness, the more the lines between sanity and insanity blur for him, which calls into question the real nature of sanity in the first place. But the most entertaining draw in this novel is the cast of characters that populate the Northern Lights facility—part hospital, part vineyard—where Ignacio ends up for extended treatment. Each resident has a story that blends heart-wrenching tragedy with absurd dark comedy. The aforementioned Sam Jenkins, church choir director and procurer of free fish, suffers an injury while rescuing a little girl from a house fire. The resulting split personality (or dissociative identity disorder) turn him into a part-time God-fearing small town hero and part-time gangsta. His alter ego is in love with Belinda, a classic good-girl turned bad by a doomed college love affair. Belinda’s sexual antics put her in constant conflict with the religiously devout Maggie, who likes to eat paperclips and spare change. And the manic German twins, Hilda and Ute Schmidt, have to be seen firsthand to be believed. Once Ignacio’s back story is fully laid out—in a wonderfully friendly prose style that feels like the conversational re-telling of neighborhood gossip and legend—and he arrives at Northern Lights, much of the plot centers around the romantic and sexual lives of the facility’s residents. Some of the scenes and descriptions get detailed, so if that’s not your cup of tea, you may want to look elsewhere. But these moments are not simply gratuitous. They speak to the very basic instincts for love and human contact that drive all of us, whether we like to admit it or not. Without giving away too many of the twists that result from the complicated relationships between all the characters, their interactions weave an intricate web that eventually draw the reader into the lives of these characters in way that will have us questioning our own grasp on reality and sanity. It’s all definitely worth spending some time with this colorful cast in the vineyard.