In this insightful and evocative novel, Tanya J. Peterson delves deeply into the world of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.
When Oliver Graham's suicide attempt fails, he is admitted to Airhaven Behavioral Health Center. Unable to cope with the traumatic loss of his beloved wife and son, he finds a single thread of attachment to life in Penelope, a fellow patient wrestling with schizophrenia and its devastating impact on her once happy and successful life. They both struggle to discover a reason to live while Penelope's fiancé William strives to convince her that she is worth loving. As Oliver and Penelope try to achieve emotional stability, face others who have been part of their lives, and function in the "real world," they discover that human connection may be reason enough to go on.
Written with extraordinary perception into the thought processes of those grappling with mental illness, Leave of Absence is perfect for readers seeking an empathic depiction of grief, loss, and schizophrenia, as well as anyone who has ever experienced human suffering and healing.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.74(d)|
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I just finished a very heart warming and thought provoking book entitled, LEAVE OF ABSENCE, by Tanya Peterson. This book is a deeply authentic novel that is both deeply inspiring and insightful. As a teacher of psychology and abnormal psychology for over twenty five years, I wish I would have had this novel at hand to provide my students with such a beautiful story that promotes a very real understanding of depression and schizophrenia. What a valuable tool for teachers, students, and families! LEAVE OF ABSENCE is a well researched and constructed novel that depicts how mental illness impacts a human life and those surrounding them. Tanya Peterson has created characters who are authentic and provide the reader with a deeper understanding of the roots of mental illness.You will be touched and perhaps even shed a tear. A great read.
Good, but drawn out too much.
Normally, I love to talk about the characters first, move to the plot, and then spin in any other thoughts that I have about the book. I don't think that my normal M.O. will really work for this novel, however. It's much too extraordinary. Mental illness has constantly attracted a strong, yet undeserved stigma in society, one that Peterson attacks with unconstrained vigor. Her protagonist, Oliver, is facing the bottom of the bottom - he feels he can't sink any lower. His newfound friend, Penelope, feels the same. Although both characters are dealing with different types of mental illness, they find a common bond - compassion. Despite each of their own problems, they each find the time to support the other, through whatever comes their way in Airhaven Behavioral Health Center. I liked the decision to make Oliver the prominent narrator, although William and Penelope narrate their own perceptions as well. The book is written in third person limited...read the rest of my review at The Canon!
I received this book from the publisher, Inkwater Press, in exchange for a fair and honest review. Leave of Absence by Tanya J. Peterson was very different from what I expected, but a book I greatly enjoyed. Oliver has suffered a severe crisis, and in turn, is suicidal. He is placed in Airhaven, a Behavioral Health Center, to help treat his mental illness. While at Airhaven, Oliver befriends Penelope, a fellow patient who battles with schizophrenia. Penelope is very unique, but a really sweet, caring individual. Unfortunately, the other patients don’t see this side of her, except for Oliver. Penelope battles with seeing her “true” self, the amazing person she is, who just happens to have schizophrenia. She continually pushes away her fiance, who has been with her since before she was diagnosed. Oliver’s battle is with forgiving himself and feeling like a valued individual. This story was heart-wrenching and there was a scene at the very end where I REALLY was nervous, but it all just made the story that much better. The only negative I have, and some people might just think I’m completely wrong, but I thought that at times there was too much positive thinking. The friends and supportive family and patients were just TOO supportive at times for my liking. I know, small negative, but just felt like I needed to point it out. Thanks for reading, Rebecca @ Love at First Book
I read more for character development than plot, and though the plot of Leave of Absence is also interesting, what makes it shine are the nuanced portrayals of human beings stripped to their core by the collision of societal expectations of “normality” and their own aggrieved self-perceptions. Each character is both vulnerable and quietly resilient, battling against personal demons and the mind’s simple chemicals, and I was left feeling I’d lived within each character for a time and understood what people so superficially different than I must endure to even see themselves as equal to the rest of us. It was heartbreaking but not sentimental. I appreciated that approach. And its voice and style show an incredible degree of empathy. It’s a deceptively simple read, and as you reach further into each character you realize nothing about them is simple. Having experienced mental illness firsthand from people close to me, I wish I’d read this book before knowing them. I’d highly suggest Leave of Absence to anyone interested in multilayered character development and who read for pleasure or for a greater understanding of those among us who are silently suffering and enduring.