Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Isolation Door, by Anish Majumdar

Neil has grown up with the chaos of a schizophrenic mother.  His father becomes her primary caretaker, but to some degree he is in denial of the severity of his wife's condition.  Neil longs to break free of this chaos, and start his own life.  He sees education and an acting career as his escape.  As he begins to develop his own life, a life full of friendships and love, he realizes that all life is chaotic, and everyone has their own issues.

This novel feels so melancholy to me, and in a way, there is a beauty to that.  I felt like the story must have been somewhat autobiographical; there was just too much sadness and heartfelt emotion in it to simply be fiction.  I think that feeling leaps from the page.  Similarly, I feel like the characters, particularly of Neil and his parents, are so realistic, they must be based in truth.

Mental illness is just now starting to be less of a taboo topic.  We are hearing more and more prominent people talk about various mental health issues.  What we still do not hear much of are the voices of the family members.  Often, loved ones can become as much a casualty to one's mental health issues as the sufferer him or herself.  So, regardless of whether this is pure fiction or based in the author's own experiences, I am glad to see a book accurately portraying life as an adult child of a schizophrenic parent.  Honest, realistic books like this will help to continue to reduce the taboo of frank mental health discussions.  

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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