Memoirs From The Asylum

Memoirs From The Asylum

by Kenneth Weene

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Overview

What is it like to work inside a state hospital or to be a patient in such a hospital? What is it like to live inside the mind of such a patient? This tragi-comedic novel takes the reader inside the asylum, inside the worlds of three central characters: a narrator who has taken refuge from his fears of the world, a psychiatrist whose own life has been damaged by his father's depression, and a catatonic schizophrenic whose world is trapped inside a crack in the wall opposite her bed. This is the interwoven story of their lives, a story that includes love, sexuality, violence, deaths, celebrations, circuses, and surprising twists. As the plot unwinds, the reader learns a great deal about the nature of futility, frustration, and freedom.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780984421954
Publisher: All Things That Matter Press
Publication date: 05/01/2010
Pages: 196
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.45(d)

About the Author

A psychologist and pastoral counselor, Kenneth Weene has used that professional experience in this, his second novel. Ken and his wife live in Phoenix where he devotes himself to writing and enjoying life.

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Memoirs from the Asylum 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Dellani_Oakes More than 1 year ago
Through this unique book, we follow the memories of one man's time in an insane asylum. He has voluntarily put himself in, and could leave at any time. He finds the asylum life predictable and safe – until some of his friends die, others marry and one of the doctors is killed. Finally deciding he's ready to venture into the real world once more, he leaves the confines of the asylum. Memoirs from the Asylum is an unusual book that gives the reader an inside look at something we'd rather ignore – the insane. It's a series of vignettes, intimate looks at each of the residents, and some of the staff, who may be just as crazy as the inmates. I highly recommend this book. It is powerful, poignant, humorous and heart rending. It leaves the reader feeling as if they've just made the same journey as the main character and raises questions about the world of mental health.
NarrativeNonfiction More than 1 year ago
Many books take on the subject of mental illness, many more are set in psychiatric wards, but usually these are narratives that recount a single story or perspective. What distinguishes Memoirs from the Asylum is the fact that the reader is introduced not only to individuals in a mental institution but the larger community of the institutionalized lifestyle. Ken Weene introduces his reader to numerous, dynamically-drawn characters that absolutely come alive on the page, not only through their private battles but how these patients interact and perceive the institution they've been relegated to. This is a powerful portrayal of what life is in an institutionalized setting and how corruption can and does exist for some residents. He brings up real problems that are often not discussed, and humanizes his characters in a way that few authors have been able to. I hope this book gets the attention it deserves because it is truly an eye-opening tale(s) that demands a reader's attention and empathy for those who are often shunned or ignored by society. Read it. -Jen Knox, author of To Begin Again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ErinORiordan More than 1 year ago
Chances are, you have a family member or an acquaintance who's been affected by a major mental illness. For many people, mental illnesses are very treatable. They will either recover or learn to manage their episodes of illness. For others, a mental illness does not respond to treatment and living in a therapeutic setting becomes an option. Of those whose illness leads to hospitalization, some are lucky enough to be able to afford private care. For others, there's the state hospital. As Alice famously said to the Cheshire Cat, "I don't want to go among mad people," and any examination of the lives and thoughts of those living in the state hospital will not be a walk in the garden. Although 'Memoirs From the Asylum' by Kenneth Weene is fictional, those of us who have mentally ill friends and relatives or who have worked in mental health care settings will find it unsettlingly real. Readers will no doubt find this book fascinating. It's like what medieval Christians used to call "the abominable fancy:" the saved glimpsing the suffering of those in Hell. The trouble is, as Weene's book makes clear, the line between the "sane" and the "insane" is a fine one. The "insane" are institutionalized by their own volition, but can declare "the vacation's over" and walk out to rejoin society at any moment. The staff are just as capable of abnormal thoughts and irrational behavior as the patients. It reminds me of a joke from an early season of 'The Simpsons,' when Homer found himself committed and asked the doctors how they could tell who was sane and who was insane. Simple, they tell him: everyone who's insane has his/her hand stamped "INSANE." 'Memoirs From the Asylum' is, at times, funny, sometimes unsettling, but largely tragic. It's a powerful book, but one worth reading. It's a plea for compassion and a disorganized rant as careening as the Jimi Hendrix solos that a patient named Jamul endlessly plays on his invisible guitar. Funny thing about that: thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, the Navy record of the real Jimi Hendrix is now public, and it reveals he was once thought to have a mental illness. The real Hendrix seemed to be unable to concentrate on any work other than writing songs and playing his guitar! Perhaps Jamul was a misunderstood genius. Within the pages of 'Memoirs of the Asylum,' anything is possible.
inkslngrswhmz More than 1 year ago
Book Title: Memoirs from the Asylum Author: Kenneth Weene ISBN: 978-0-9844219-5-4 Publisher: All Things that Matter Press, 2010 Reviewer Byline: Vonnie Faroqui for WITS Memoirs from the Asylum author Kenneth Weene has, with many twists and phobic turns, succeeded in writing a moving and fascinating exploration of the inner workings of the insane mind. Memoirs is set within the confines of a mental health institution and weaves its way through the lives and memories of the asylum's patients, narrated from the internal perspective of two patients and their psychiatrist. The vision of life depicted within and around these 3 main characters makes a case for a larger societal madness as the author explores the bureaucracy surrounding and encapsulating the insane and their caregivers. As uncomfortable as some aspects of the book may be, these same passages hold illuminating power. Well crafted, Memoirs from the Asylum has a developed plot line and believable story progression. The best aspect of the book is how the author has written from the perspective or inner thoughts of the characters. This is done with such realism, understanding and truth that it is easy to relate with the patient's fears, frustrations, joys and triumphs. It is obvious that the author is writing from a deeper understanding of human motivation and psychosis. His treatment of his characters is compassionate and without judgment allowing the reader to formulate their own opinions and confront their own preconceptions and prejudices. Unlike so many other novels these days, Weene's writing is not preachy or deliberately educational in tone, with well developed characters and originality that make for compelling reading. At times the book is disturbing as it addresses and reveals many destructive societal attitudes and inhumanities. The author has skillfully lifted the veil of willful disinterest surrounding the mentally ill and shone a spot light on the role played by the greater culture in perpetuating and growing madness. Full of memorable characters that are as tragic as they are comedic, this book proves itself in the great tradition of writing. Disturbingly honest and often graphic in nature Memoirs from the Asylum is an entertaining and enlightening read for adults.