Fragile Mind by W. B. Thompson is a mental illness-themed poetry collection with a mission: raising awareness of mental health issues and their possible consequences, helping to understand those who struggle with mental health issues and offering support for sufferers. The touching and meaningful poems offer an insight into the fragile mind’s daily struggles, including low self-esteem, hopelessness and anger.
W.B. Thompson creates a strong base for his poems with the introduction and the included suicide statistics. Every poem comes with a related image which indicates the content of the poem. The verses describe the wide range of emotions that a person with mental health problems can go through: confusion, loneliness, frustration, sadness, anguish and discouragement. I liked how the poet was able to send such a deep message, I could absolutely relate to the feelings of someone who is afflicted. The images and the titles are well-chosen and match the content. As a fan of well-written rhymes, I would prefer more rhymes in the collection, but I found the free verse poems also valuable and interesting.
Pages: 38 | ASIN: B07SH5ZCGP
Four Years of Despair by Jalesa Morrison is a youth/teenage story that touches upon sensitive topics, such as mental health, bullying, and family issues. Jaunell Morris is a teenage girl that doesn’t fit in at school or at home, and has a lot of issues. She has trouble communicating with her family, her teachers and with making friends. Everyone around her is baffled by her outbursts and her violent episodes. Her school gives up on her and she is transferred to a different school, where things get even worse.
Jaunell is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she is in and out of hospitals all the time. Her situation is made worse by her parents’ bad marriage, her poor relationship with her older sisters and the rejection she feels from her extended family. Her only ally is her grandmother, and one of the nurses from the hospital where she’s treated. Eventually, the nurse is the one that helps her secure a place at a much better mental health treatment facility. These are heavy emotional issues, but the book ends on a hopeful note.
This book has the courage to shed light on a lot of difficult issues: mental health in teenagers, dysfunctional families, poverty, lack of access to proper education, social services and healthcare. It’s an authentic and powerful radiography of our society and how its most vulnerable members (youth, minorities, poor people) have the cards stacked against them.
The devastation that mental health issues bring into a person’s life is depicted well inJaunell’s story. However, sometimes I felt that the insights into Jaunell’s motivations, actions and reactions are not detailed enough. The book would have benefited from a deeper incursion into the complexities of Jaunell’s mental issues. I would’ve also liked to have read more about Jaunell’s mother and her relationship with her grandmother. The details of their relationship could’ve provided more insight on the family dynamics and how it affected Jaunell.
As someone who has experienced living with a person who is bipolar I would definitely recommend reading Four Year of Despair by Jalesa Morrison as this book is a real eye opener as to what people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder go through in their day to day activities. This book would be a great influence to teens who are going through this but may be confused as to why they handle their emotions different than others.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07R5DKMMZ
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There aren’t many books that I’ve read that I would have a difficult time placing within a specific genre, or at least spanned across a couple of distinct styles. The Fantastic Inner Life of an American Teenager, however, is a work that is in a class of its own, and that’s a good thing.
Part fiction, part reality, and pretty much all intensely inventive and imaginative, this real-life diary written by a teenage girl about some of the hopes and dreams that she had reveals multiple levels of the author’s reality. In fact, this book is the work of a girl named Desiree, AKA YAEL, who experienced a childhood and adolescence worlds apart from what many view as ‘normal’.
According to the editor, Regine Dubono (The author’s mother), YAEL suffered from mental illness from a young age and found family life to be a challenge. Due to those difficulties in coping with everyday events, the author was quickly labelled and placed within a mental hospital where she would be medicated to the point of losing much of her happiness and contentment that she had known before. What’s more is that due to the reaction of the medical staff charged with caring for Desiree, that same medication severely hampered her natural skill and talent as a playwright.
This book opens a window into the heart of the author and shows us just how incredibly talented she was. Her clarity in purpose while creating the scenes of her play are engaging and honest, and each line seems like a well-thought-out continuation of thoughts nurtured over time.
That said, it does take a bit of work to follow the trains of thought through to the end as there are several threads which are interwoven throughout the screenplay. There are references and concepts that jump in from out of the blue but once the writer’s mind and process is better understood, taking in this work becomes much smoother. It is different for sure, and it is eye-opening in many ways. If you are one to relish taking in the personality of the authors you read, The Fantastic Inner Life of an American Teenager will provide a full serving.
I would have appreciated footnotes and information from the editor that would have helped provide more background for certain times throughout the authors life while this diary was being written. I couldn’t help but think that I was missing pieces of vital information while reading. Other than that, this is an impressive work from an even more impressive teenage author.
Pages: 120 | ISBN: 9781312599161
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WEIRD – or Weird Consequences of a Bedbug Incident, by Regine Dubono is intended to help struggling families see things from a fresh perspective.
Desiree, the focal character in the story, suffers from several disabilities and regularly undergoes treatments for many of them, including mental illness, physical disabilities, and many others. Despite her many conditions, however, she was also highly talented in many ways.
Regine Dubono calls into question the modern psychiatric practice of creating within people a sense of weakness which should therefore be treated with any number of serious and life-altering psychiatric drugs.
The author brings a lot of things to focus through her story, but one of the most powerful is the fact that there is serious repercussions that come from taking these types of medications. Most notably, feelings of being helpless and dependent on the prescribed cocktail of pharmaceuticals. Even more, though, how damaging the wrong drugs can be for a person.
In fact, Desiree suffered the unfortunate fate of being experimented on through pharmaceutical trials on more than one occasion, ending up in states that seemed utterly hopeless, prompting ‘professional opinion’ to recommend Desiree to permanent hospitalization. It was only when she was allowed to stay clear from the drugs and given the personal agency to operate certain aspects of her life that she showed any real signs of improvement and comfort.
The moral of the story is clear and a much needed one at that. Parents, as well as anyone else acting as caretaker for a disabled person, should keep a close eye on the treatment programs and medications that are often administered. Are they doing more harm than good? Are they helping at all? Whatever the case may be, the author’s mission in writing this diary of events outlining Desiree’s life and experiences is to provide anecdotal evidence. The evidence suggests, among other things, that entrusting medical professionals to decisions related to the best interests of the patient is not always the best approach.
In terms of accessibility and style, the majority of Weird – or Weird Consequences of a Bedbug Incident is provided in diary form. As such, it reads as more of a collection of personal notes as opposed to being a dramatized novel. The situations are genuine. The times and places are all accurate. And the notes offered for all the various situations the author faced are about as eye opening as anything else in this category. This is certainly a unique work that deserves attention.
Pages: 220 | ASIN: 1329529731
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MAMA SOU is the true story of a young mother who gets her son taken away. This book is pure love and emotion and nearly had me in tears several times. As the story unfolds, you see how much love Maria has for her son, and how she will do anything to get him back. She is strong, independent, and ready to fight for what is hers. Aside from the incredible story that is being told in these pages, the writing is superb and beautifully delivers a fully realized vision of the characters and the places they inhabit. It is incredible the lengths that people go to for their family, and the fact that this is someone’s real story is both beautiful and heartbreaking.
Whether you are a parent or not, you will feel the love that went into writing this story, and the emotions between the people in the story. The author, the mother herself, pours her heart into every chapter. I’ve read some books like this one, where a young mother struggles to gain her family back, but there is something special about Maria’s story. Maybe it’s the year that it happened, which was some 40 years ago, when these types of things weren’t really talked about, or maybe it’s because it happened in Greece. Either way, it holds a special place in my heart, and I will not forget this story any time soon.
As someone who has suffered from depression most of my life, seeing how Maria handled her depression was inspirational. That fact that she was able to fight for what she so desperately needed, all while dealing with mental illness, was incredible. I fully enjoyed this book, I think that whether you have kids or not, you will find some special meaning within these pages. The story is sometimes harsh, sometimes sweet, but definitely full of lessons to learn for everyone that reads it. I only wish that we could learn more about Maria and her story, and more about her son.
Pages: 118 | ASIN: B0793VJFFG
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I was truly touched by this memoir by Diane Pomerantz. Her honesty and candor, as well as her shard recollection of her life’s experiences is truly inspiring and, as a person interested in human relationships, I found this book speaking to my soul. Diane Pomerantz writes as if in conversation. Perhaps this comes from her decades of work as a child psychologist. The writing has a conversational flow and is emotional without being overly flowery or expressive. She states later in the book that writing is very therapeutic for her and this is evident to the reader.
This is a memoir about a life full of challenging experiences to which many people can relate but also moments that are so unique to her story. The author takes us through her years as a married person and into her later years and up to the present. We experience her meeting her husband. He is a physician and she is a child psychologist. They build a life together, including many issues with fertility and adoption. We experience their early years of marriage, including intense difficulties with fertility and adoption. There are many heartbreaking incidents like when the young couple adopts a baby, names him, and brings him home only to find out that the birth mother has changed her mind. It is inspiring how the author faces these challenges, she is rocked to the core but also finds a way to move forward. It’s beautiful how she got both of her children. I loved this part of the story. It made me laugh when she said her daughter liked her new brother for the first few weeks but was then ready to send him back! My son said similar things about his baby brother in the beginning, so this made me smile.
As the years go on, we watch her husband’s true personality come to forefront. It is truly disturbing to watch this unfold. She sees certain things in the beginning that are red flags but continues raising her children with him and even working together. There is a story about how she and Charles co-treat a young woman for anxiety and Pomerantz is alarmed by his dismissive response to the patient. Through the author’s struggles with illness she discovers more and more truths about her husband. It was alarming to read the breakdown of their partnership and his actions and state of mind. Her descriptions were so alarming at times, yet I believed every detail.
There is a lot of difficulty, trauma, and heartbreak in this book, but it all comes around to a positive ending and left me feeling like I was more aware in my own marriage and relationships. I like that she is able to move forward without anger, even though she doesn’t have to forgive. I really enjoyed this book. The writing style was so comfortable and easy to read. The authors candor about her life are refreshing in a world where people often only want to show the good.
Pages: 337 | ASIN: B07414L8B6
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The first thing that caught my eye even before getting to the first chapter of the book was the dedication part. The author styled dedication as ‘deadication’ and I thought, wow, is this a typo? Reading on, the author explained that the misspelling was intentional because he was dedicating the book to every dead person he knew. I thought that that was cool, and sort of funny. Here I was getting ready to read a book that would make me more humorous, happier and healthier, and what do I find at the beginning? Some funny word. I immediately knew that I was in for a good read. David Jacobson also had a livication part; dedicating the book to all living people.
In chapter one, the author states that you should treat humor as a necessity, not a luxury. The author writes that you should make humor a priority in your life. I agree with him because, with humor, life stops being too serious. Humor will help you improve your attitude, physical and mental health. On using the self-effacing humor, the author writes that it is good because you will let others know your humor, and they will be comfortable knowing that you know they know.
Habit four was my most favorite of all. The habit reads “Use the power of humor to positively influence you and others.” I couldn’t agree more. It is evident that by bringing in humor even during tense situations people feel a little bit relaxed. By reading and adapting this habit, you will help those around you better their own well being. There is no harm in being a little funny with your friends around. Humor makes the environment more cheerful and more fun to be in. The sixth habit was a good one too; humorize – Combine humor with other aspects of your life.
I kept wondering why the author wrote about 7 and 1/2 habits. Why did he half it? Why not write about either 7 or 8 habits? The author explained that he wrote the half habit because you don’t need the entire habit for it to work. The half habit is also the most challenging to maintain. “Mastering your thoughts” is the last and half habit. It is not easy to master your thoughts. The good news is that if you manage to master them half the time, you’ll be doing twice as well.
Every book lover should read this book because the book is educational and amusing. I also recommend the book because it makes you view humor and life differently, and enables you to see the light side of things. The best part is that the book is a light read so you will finish reading it sooner than you realize.
Pages: 167 | ASIN: B07L23YS7C
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All Your Fears follows Kim, a seemingly normal person, but something sinister returns from her past. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
The inspiration for All Your Fears comes from different sources. The plot is loosely based on a crime that occurred in the UK some year ago. In order to create a compelling novel I needed to look at alternative ways to drive the narrative, make it interesting and keep the reader guessing. Hours of research furnished me with material gleaned from paranormal events and case studies centered around psychological disorders, particularly with reference to the emotion of fear and what causes it.
Kim is an intriguing character that continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some driving ideals behind her character?
The novel portrays the main character, Kim Robins, as a deeply troubled young woman with a huge emotional burden. She is basically a ‘good’ person: forgiving, compassionate and trustworthy. Most of all, though, she is vulnerable and therefore wary of people and their intentions. Kim’s mental state quickly deteriorates as the novel progresses, and reaches a point of no return. She does, however, possess an inner strength that enables her to fight on, as it were, in the search for spiritual release.
This novel expertly delivers mystery and suspense. Was the story planned or did it develop organically while writing?
Before I began writing the novel I planned the beginning and the end. I formulated several chapters, wrote them, and decided where to go from there. I found that ideas came to me during the writing. The characters, once fully formed, started to ‘speak’ to me; they take on a life of their own. As an author, you have to make sure you don’t deviate away from the plot otherwise it loses focus. The novel has a moral side to it and hopefully will ask the reader to make their own judgements on various aspects of the characters’ motivations.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I am taking a break from writing and pursuing my other interests. I do, though, have an idea for another novel entitled, Chapter 13.
Kim Robins lives a contented life in a peaceful market town. One evening, she encounters a maniac driver who narrowly misses running her over. History teacher Jay Yeldon drives by moments later, takes her home and examines her sprained ankle. A romantic relationship soon develops, but as the weeks progress Kim is plagued by disturbing, bizarre incidents and mounting fear. Trusting nobody, she seeks spiritual help, only to be cruelly deceived.
Fearful that Kim will come to harm, Jay turns detective and discovers the shattering truth about the woman who loves him.
Someone is out to destroy her and will stop at nothing.
Jay faces a moral dilemma and becomes isolated. Undeterred, he conceives a daring plan to expose her enemy, but nothing prepares him for the unexpected, horrifying climax that changes his outlook on life forever.
Posted in Interviews
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The Mom and Her Autistic Daughter details the life and hardships you encountered when caring for an autistic adult daughter. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I wanted so much to help her because the child I remembered she was was very smart, very gifted in the arts (dance, music, painting), so sensitive to your feelings, so compassionate. The drugs had turned her into a disabled monster.
There is ample discussion given to the drugs that autistic people are often prescribed. What are some common misconceptions people have about this topic?
The drugs only serve to mask symptoms and give the false impression that they are solving the problem.
Do you plan to write more books on this topic?
Yes. I will continue this fight as long as I live. My next book may be titled: “After the Respite”.
Desiree has been given a status of emergency placement and Terry is her designated ICM. Attempts to place Desiree in a DDD licensed supervised apartment are tedious and difficult for she has e-bursts and night incontinence. Her issues are personal anger, and high anxiety. And perhaps because she was prescribed anti-depressant drugs, she can become violent. Unlike parents of mentally ill young people, Dubono pulled Desiree out of the shelter in an attempt to heal her, while awaiting the DDD placement.
Posted in Interviews
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The Mom and Her Autistic Daughter by Regine Dubono is a fitting title for this book. Dubono explains the life and turmoil of Desiree, an adult with autism, and her mother. Desiree’s medicines’ effects and side effects are explored. The struggle to find Desiree a long term living arrangement becomes a source of contention between Desiree, Desiree’s mother, and her caregivers. Her mother finds it difficult to find balance for herself and her daughter while playing a deck that seems stacked against them.
The author delves into Desiree’s everyday life which feels tumultuous at best. Desiree has parts of her life she enjoys such as shopping and manicures, but everything apart from that feels tense. In working in Special Education I have found in the past that this is pretty typical of autistic children. I assume that would generally carry over into adulthood as it has with Desiree. My students have had areas they excel in and become almost obsessive about their particular interests. Anything else feels boring or daunting. Any deviation from their schedule can also cause a tailspin or meltdown. These are things that readers who have not worked with people with autism may not know and may learn from the book.
I’ve also had a bit of experience in dealing with drugs and their side effects while caring for my father. Dubono explores how drugs may “fix” one issue, but cause many more. One drug may also cause further symptoms that need to be controlled, thus producing the need for more drugs. These are frustrating waters to navigate. Readers may get more of a grasp of how many pharmaceutical companies and drug-pushing doctors work in this aspect. This part of the book is especially pertinent in today’s social climate.
Dubono’s explanation of the struggles in finding Desiree a permanent and sufficient placement especially hit home for me. Many readers who have dealt with this kind of thing will be able to sympathize with the accounts she gives. It is extremely hard to find caregivers for adults. It would be exponentially harder to find care for those who are prone to have outbursts and labelled as “difficult.” Clean and suitable facilities and genuinely caring and qualified caregivers aren’t always readily available. My family knows that from experience. Anyone who has dealt with this will find her accounts relatable.
The structure of the book feels somewhat lacking and feels repetitive at times. One letter in particular that is written by the mother is repeated almost verbatim in another part of the book. I had to flip back to make sure I hadn’t lost my place. There are quite a few grammatical and spelling errors throughout the book. There are also many abbreviations that are left unexplained. There is substance in the experiences and relationship of the mother and daughter, but the book doesn’t flow as well as I would have liked it to. I think the book would benefit greatly from an editor and proofreader.
There are important lessons to be learned here. This is a story that should be told as a cautionary tale and to help parents or guardians not feel alone in this situation. Desiree’s voice should be heard, I just think the book could use some revision and restructuring.
Pages: 123 | ASIN: B07H5RCYB5
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