Monday, September 13, 2010

Memoirs From The Asylum

I recently loaned my copy of this book to a friend who is attending nursing school. She was profoundly moved by the characters and depth of the story, in turn, she shared the title with her psych professor. Memoirs from the Asylum has now been brought forward as recommended reading for psychology students at her University.

Congratulations Kenneth Weene, for your contribution in shaping the care givers of the future!

Book Title: Memoirs from the Asylum
Author: Kenneth Weene
ISBN: 978-0-9844219-5-4
Publisher: All Things that Matter Press, 2010
Link to purchase: Memoirs From The Asylum
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 three 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 to and understand the patient’s phobias, 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, Weene’s writing is not preachy or educational in tone, using 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.

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