Monday, 12 March 2012

Review of LIFE IS BUT A DREAM by Brian James

Author: Brian James.
Source: ARC provided by Macmillan via Net Galley.
Expected Publish Date: 27th March 2012.

I hereby award this book 4.5 wings!

I was first attracted to this book by it's cover. I think it's really beautiful. A little sad looking, the way the girl is lying at the bottom. But sad is okay. Covers don't always have to be happy to be beautiful. 

I was nosing around on friends blogs when I saw this. So I put it on my wishlist to buy as soon as it came out. Little did I know I wouldn't have to because I got it as a Galley from Macmillan via Net Galley.

What's the story about? A young artist called Sabrina is diagnosed with Schizophrenia. She is checked into the Wellness Centre by her parents, hoping that they can give her the right medication and make her better.
Due to the medication, Sabrina no longer see things the way she saw them before and that makes her upset. She misses the colours and the beautiful way she saw things outside the centre's walls. The only thing she doesn't miss is the static. The noise she heard everywhere and was sure was out to get her. 
Life at the Wellness Centre is dull. There's the medication. Regular meetings with her doctor. An endless loop of repetitiveness. She no longer even has a passion for her art the way she did on the outside.

All that changes the day Alec is admitted. He's young, good-looking and convinces Sabrina that it's the world that's crazy, not her. The pair fall in love. They're meant to be together. They're special. No-one can understand them like each other, but that's okay because they don't need anyone else.
Alec convinces Sabrina to come off her medication. He says it dulls her senses. He says it will wipe out everything that makes her creative. Sabrina worries that she will lose hold of her dreams, her life. So she does as Alec says. When the nurse brings her meds, Sabrina takes them, but hides them under her tongue until the nurse leaves the room.

The question is, is Sabrina really schizophrenic or is it the world that's wrong? Is the doctor trying to convince her she's ill as a rouse for keeping her at the centre and medicated to the eyeballs? 

There is no doubt that LIFE IS BUT A DREAM is a beautiful story. It's a roller coaster ride of emotions. You feel happy, you feel sad. You want to cry, good tears and sad ones. It's clear that Sabrina is troubled and you just want things to all work out for her in the end.

I have never read anything about anyone with a mental illness before, so this was completely new to me. It was an eye-opening experience for me in more ways than one because whilst I have a friend with ADHD and one who is Bi-polar, I don't know anyone who is schizophrenic. It was a learning curve for me to feel like I was in the head of a schizophrenic young girl. I realised, amongst other things, that it must be so hard to try and deal with this illness. I have the utmost respect for anyone who has this illness and lives with it every day of their lives. 
I think Brian James is brave and courageous for introducing us to a new kind of story. I tend to find that in most YA books, if you strip them back to their bare bones, they are basically a love story with a story built around it. Whereas if you strip LIFE IS BUT A DREAM back, you will find a story of a girl with a mental illness who struggles to cope. Yes there is a little bit of a love story but in this case it is worked around the main story not the other way around. 

Thanks must go to Brian James for opening my eyes a little more to the world around me. To Macmillan for approving me for the Galley. Also to Net Galley for providing the Galley. I think they are a wonderful site. It's a great way of getting ARCs of books that I may otherwise not know exist. 

To purchase LIFE IS BUT A DREAM, click the following links:

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