Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it's the world that's crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? her decision may have fatal consequences.
Brian James calls Life is But a Dream "the most intense book I've written. Bringing this unique character to life and seeing the world through her eyes, with all its beauty and confusion, was an immense challenge that I hope is just as rewarding to read as it was to write." Intense--yes. Unforgettable--definitely.
Life Is But a Dream 4.2 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
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.
More than 1 year ago
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.
More than 1 year ago
This book never had a boring moment. Loved it soooooooooooo much. You have to read or you'll be missing out.
More than 1 year ago
An amazing story.
More than 1 year ago
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
Letina McDowell is the author of this life revealing written collection. Since the early age
of 15, she has demonstrated a work ethic of a true lover of words and expressions. It was in high school when she started placing ...
This is the story of Alex James’s transition from a leading light of the Britpop
movement in the 1990s, to gentleman farmer, artisan cheese-maker and father of five.All Cheeses Great and Small is the follow-up memoir to Alex James's first ...
Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal
but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event—an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the ...
Olga Grushin’s astonishing literary debut has won her comparisons with everyone from Gogol to Nabokov.
A virtuoso study in betrayal and its consequences, it exploresreally, colonizesthe consciousness of Anatoly Sukhanov, who many years before abandoned the precarious existence of an ...
Based on the lives of actual people, Giovanni's Dream is the story of an improbable
relationship between a young black Jersey woman and a mobbed up wise guy; think Naomi Campbell marrying into the Sopranos.Neesha Steele is so bedeviled by ...
Julia Roberts represents a return to the glamour of the great Hollywood stars of another
era. Fans flock to her movies, and she's a staple cover subject of People magazine and every entertainment show imaginable, but her real life has ...
Find your power, transform your obstacles, surrender to success Aleta St. James has spent the
past twenty-five years as an emotional healer and life coach developing a system for creating deep and dramatic life changes with lasting results. In Life ...
On post Gene Wars Earth, many anthropomorphic species share the ravaged world with humans. Amongst
the species created to help rebuild their world were the foxtaurs - vulpine based centauroids bred to be the caretakers of the unspoiled lands remaining. ...