We've made it to the middle vowel, perhaps the easiest letter to write, and one we use all the time (since we talk about ourselves constantly, right?). I give you I!
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden
A moving, based-on-personal-experience, story about a young woman and her struggles with mental wellness. It takes place sometime between the 1950's and 1960's, and it follows Deborah as she goes into a mental hospital. Her time there came after the lobotomy craze and before a lot of the drugs that we use now.
We get to see both how the institution works (or doesn't) as well as Deborah's struggles with her illness (schizophrenia) and learning that when it comes down to it, she is the only one who can decide to be healthy or "ill".
The thing that draws me so much to this book is the depth of honesty that we find from the author (Hanna Green, aka, Joanne Greenberg) as she handles both "her" illness and the sufferings of the other patients. In this mental ward they don't pull punches, they have no reason to. It's raw, it's harsh, and there is a stunning beauty to be found there.
I've read this one at least five times since discovering it in early college, and every few years I pick it up again because there is so much to be gathered up about what is sanity, can we take imagination too far, and to what lengths will the human mind go to to protect itself from threats both real and imagined.
(I recommend this one for those who are 18 and up since many of my younger friends would be highly sensitive to many of the themes.)