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review 2017-04-07 14:19
Rarity from the Hollow- Robert Eggleton

   Not everyone will read the story the way I did. In fact, wading through twenty or so of the at this point in time 94 Amayon.com reviews, I couldn’t find any others that were reading the exact same message.

  This is a story that’s omnipresent voice explores the decent of an adolescent girl into madness. At the books end, I imagine her institutionalised, living her conscious life entirely in an invented world of her imagination, while kept ‘physically safe’ by psychiatric nurses.

   The setting of West Virginia is irrelevant, other than that I read that it is a place where the author worked as a psychotherapist. One can read in the deprived corners of any state on Earth.

  The book is comic, by line, sometimes treading in the deep crud of extreme social and physical abuse and poverty, by chapter. Lacy Dawn is the daughter of an abusive PTSD suffering father, and a down-trodden and objectified mother. We read about how, especially after the murder of her best friend she starts to tip over the edge, eventually losing even remote connection with reality. As she descends into the protective cocoon of her imagination she engages in a range of abnormal behaviour typical of traumatised children, and especially of those children that have being exposed to the very worst of adult behaviour. Drugs, guns, and sexual exploitation of all sorts are the bread and butter of everyday life in the neighbourhood of this poor child.

   If one chooses to read that way, she ‘really’ goes on an adventure across space, engaged to marry a robot that is slowly turning into a physically ‘entire’ man. If you don’t, and I don’t. The distant shopping Mall is the furthest she ever gets from home.

For my perspective, this is book is conceptualised brilliantly, and executed well. The writing is good, as is the pace of the plot. Perhaps the ending is a little weak, but by that point where could Lacy Dawn’s mind go that could be more distant from reality, and more protective of what little is left of her sanity. The satirical plot, the harsh existence which became an escape to the stars, or the closed spaces of the mind, is very clever. The ending was appropriate, as Lacy builds her own sanctuary, one in which she is at last in control of her life.

   Where could a sequel go? To rehab from drugs and mental recovery, or further into the stars?

   The message: “however life shits on you, don’t shit on the children” is delivered so harshly that only the comical prose could carry the ‘normal’ reader to the stories psychotic conclusion. If we don’t protect and fight for wholesome family values, our societies will all decay into an impoverished, disease ridden, Hobbesian Hollow.

Lacy Dawns mental space may be unique, but unfortunately isn’t that abnormal. Well, that is the view of a relatively sane man who only understands one psychology, my own.       Get well, Lacy Dawn and let Faith rest in peace, but never her death be hidden from the judgment of society.


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review 2015-12-30 14:07
A Portait
The Abortion - Richard Brautigan

This book was sitting on the staff picks of my local bookstore for over a month, even at just $4, I suspect because of the title. Which makes sense, though seems odd after reading since the book never touches on the controversy of the procedure, it's simply a thing that happens in the story. I suppose putting abortion right on the cover filters out people who would take offense. It is hard to know what the climate was like he was releasing it into in 1971.


What the book is, is beautiful, slow moving, and quirky. Brautigan does not seem interested in experimenting with plot, but he revels in the feel of language. Everything goes according to plan, I kept expecting for things to go terribly wrong as things are wont to do in stories. There is tension, but the kind that arises naturally from traveling, medical procedures, a change in job, and many other events that will probably be okay but worry us.


The focus is on the writing. Brautigan spends whole sections building the settings: who is there, what they are doing, what the space is, what it means to the characters.He flirts with indulgence but his style is straightforward enough that he never quite crosses that line. Plus his world and his writing are just off-beat enough to justify the approach. 


The Abortion is set in 1966, which is incidental since it mostly takes place in a "library" that takes in any book that anybody wants to write and add to the collection, any time, day or night. The librarian, whom I don't believe was given a name, bears the naivete of that era convincingly. Meditations on the beauty of Vida--his girlfriend whose attractiveness and the constant, unwanted attention it brings, has become a burden, a forerunner of Madame Psychosis in Infinite Jest--come off as endearing, genuine appreciation in a world that constantly wants to own and ogle and grab.


It is a quick read, and a pleasant one, for anyone coming off of a long project or anytime you could use a read that points out the beauty around us, which is really what the book deals with: his beautiful girlfriend, the beautiful moments that make up a life, appreciation for what was and hope for what is to come.

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review 2014-02-22 00:00
Psychosis - K.R. Griffiths This is book 3 of the 4 part series. Again, we are treated to new characters worthy of the primary characters we met in book 1. This book is significant in that we meet the true Jake. This is when the book steps up the horror aspect significantly. The story continues to intrigue me, a non-horror genre reader. Really looking forward to book 4.

I recommend this series for the shear quality of the story and writing. Save some money and buy the 4 part "boxed" ebook set.
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review 2012-03-20 12:06
Psychosis and the Trojan War
Aias (Ajax) - Sophocles

On the 9th of March 2012 an American patrol was travelling through Afghanistan when their vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb. Of the occupants two were severely injured (I believe they lost limbs). Two days later, on the 11th March 2012, one of the soldiers that had escaped injury took up an assault rifle, left the camp, and proceeded to slaughter 16 Afghani civilians from two villages. This event hit the media like a storm, and as of the writing of this commentary, the soldier is up on charges and has made the statement that he cannot remember anything of the incident itself. The question that you may be asking is, what has this got to do with a play written 2500 years ago? My answer is quite a lot actually. In fact this recent incident in Afghanistan is almost identical to the plot of the Ajax (with the exception that the soldier did not kill himself whereas Ajax did).

When I first picked up this book last night I was thinking that I would just read this play, which I quite like, and comment on it like I have been doing with the other Greek plays that I have read recently. However, my mind had already been triggered by some books that I have ordered from the US that discuss mental illnesses, particularly PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) that appeared in Ancient Greek literature. A friend of mine at work has read one of them and speaks very highly of the scholarship that is involved in it. Another book that I have picked up deals with PTSD as it appears in Heracles by Euripides. However, I have noticed that there seems to be a lack of literature relating to a similar condition arising in the Ajax.

The story of Ajax is that Ajax is a commander in the Trojan War and after Paris killed Achilles, there was a competition over who would get armour - Odysseus won. However it turns out that Odysseus (surprise, surprise) cheated and that Ajax should have got the armour instead. Ajax then descends into a fit of madness and begins to slaughter the Greeks' cattle, believing them to be the Greeks themselves. Upon discovering the truth, he descends into depression and finishes off by killing himself. There is more to the play than that, particularly when Odysseus then steps up afterwards and defends Ajax's honour against Menelaus and Agamemnon.

The events of the play show elements of psychosis and major depressive disorder leading to suicidal ideation (you can tell I work in personal injury). The depressive elements are very clear, particularly when it is Ajax's honour that has been destroyed. As the saying goes, it takes a lifetime to build a reputation and a moment to destroy it. Ajax's fit of madness destroyed his reputation in minutes. However we note that with the exception of Odysseus, there is absolutely no sympathy for Ajax from any of the other commanders. As far as they are concerned he has betrayed them and his people. Ajax sees himself having no friends: the Trojans hate him and the Greeks hate him, and despite his mother and brother loving him, his guilt pervades him to the point that he has no choice but to fall onto his sword.

Now, as I read through the English translation (with the Greek being on the opposite page) I noticed Ajax's illness being mentioned numerous times. I flicked my eyes over to the Greek, located the word, and indeed the word is Greek for illness. The play clearly demonstrates a recognition of mental illness being a legitimate sickness, and this was 2500 years before Freud. Further, as we look into other Greek literature, particularly Plato, we discover that there were systems in place that were designed to assist people suffering from mental illness: this being called the Therapy of the Soul. It appears that not only did the Greeks recognise mental illness, but also recognised the need and a system in an attempt to cure it.

However, if we consider this play and Heracles we notice that the Greeks seemed to believe that the origin of mental illness was divine. This is not necessarily limited to the Greeks though since we see episodes of psychosis in the Bible and a recognition that demonic forces can be behind it. The main incident that I refer to is the story of Legion, where a man was banished to the wastelands because he was possessed by a legion of demons, and Jesus comes along, cures him, and casts the demons into a herd of pigs. In Greek tragedy, mental illness comes about from the gods fogging the mind of the victim. Athena fogs Ajax's mind in an attempt to prevent him from killing Odysseus, and Madness descends upon Herakles since he had completed his tasks, and the prohibition from harming him had been lifted.

This is why I love to study the ancients. It is not because of my love of antiquity, but because it is clear that they were much more intelligent and switched on than we give them credit for. In Shakespeare's time, while there was a recognition of mental illness (King Lear suffers from a Major Depressive Disorder while Hamlet shows elements of psychosis, despite the fact that he is faking it). However, it is accepted and unchangeable. We see no attempt by Shakespeare to attempt to address it though there are elements looking at their underlying causes. However we cannot forget that, with the exception of King Lear, the other madnesses that come to mind (Titus Andronicus and Hamlet) the madness is faked.

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/297572095
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review 2011-09-05 00:00
4.48 Psychosis - Sarah Kane I went to see it with somebody who had been incarcerated and she defended it vigorously against my lack of sympathy. Or perhaps that should be empathy.
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