I am always honest with my readers. I can honestly say I didn't know what to think of this book...
I've had friendships with people with schizophrenia, manic depression, major depressive disorder, and that is only the ones I know about. Have you ever had a friend who is super low one day and the next bouncing off the ceilings to the point it is an unbearable joy? Have you ever had someone you know talk to themselves (not normal, you can do it kinda talk but real conversations)? One of my roommates years ago was bipolar and schizophrenic. That and a few psychology classes was why I chose to review this book.
Tom while in college goes through a lot of new experiences that are unfamiliar to him including his mad desire for a girl named Mary who does not seem to feel the same way for Tom as he does for her. What I saw in Tom was a bit childlike thinking. He reacted many times the way someone in junior high or high school would emotionally react to what happens. It is obvious though that it is a bit more than just childish behavior. The dark thoughts he experienced along with that thinking was a bit scary at times. It is mental illness. When he starts to write letters to the girl of his desires parents, it is obvious that something is different.
With the help of a lot of therapy, Tom finally is able to move on. That is the best part of the book.
Unfortunately there was a lot of sex and profanity in this book- two things I try to stay away from when reviewing literature. I DO NOT LIKE IT! I found it a bit ironic that the author Robert Doran thanked God for his ability to overcome mental illness with the amount of swear words he used in A Prison Of Lies. If you move past the sex and profanity (some pages I had to put the book down and come back later), the story is very well written and does give the reader insight into the world of mental illness.
It is exciting to find out that the author has been married for fifteen years now (not to Mary). :) He found hope and help through counseling. He credits God for helping him recover from mental illness.
About the book:
But this is only the set up for the real hell which was to follow, coming in the guise of a beautiful and seemingly innocent young women named Mary. Schooled in etiquette, God, and discipline, she was equally skillful at secrecy and pretense. And unable to see behind her subtle facades, Tom mistakes her demure reserve for shyness and under that illusion, he tumbles into a deep, undying love, into which inexorably pour all of his pent up needs and desires. The delusion is only broken when Mary suddenly reveals a cold indifference to his emotions. Then upon dispatching him with sudden sly cruelty and consummate betrayal, she immediately vanishes behind a veil of silence.
In this explosive coming of age story we are taken down the rabbit hole of unrequited love and rejection, where in the depths of despair, Tom must wrestle with the devil of his darkest emotions and deny that devil his every temptation to commit heinous acts of evil. There is no rape or murder beyond the wild imaginings of Tom, who in the aftermath of Mary's brutality, goes completely psycho, in this nightmarish book of tragic love. In fact, it is almost miraculous that those atrocities do not happen, given the intensity of Tom's rage.
In witnessing Tom's struggle, however, we are brought to a better understanding of human sexuality, how people can be driven to violence, and why people sometimes die by suicide. As Tom makes a slow and arduous climb out of his abyss, we learn how to survive heartbreak and emotional abuse. Launching into psychotherapy, he begins the process of peeling back the onion to find his hidden demons. During this painful process he struggles with an inability to forgive himself for becoming a victim, and in equal part, an inability to forgive the ghost of Mary, for her profound cruelty and dishonesty. But with the scepter of suicide ever lurking, it becomes increasingly clear how much his very survival depends on his letting go of his anger and letting go of the past.
You may prefer to skip the foreword (written by and intended for professional therapists) and advance to the beginning of the story, which holds some of the books first cryptic poems that hint of lost love. They are descriptive of the struggle to come.
In order to come to terms with what has befallen him, Tom must first confront the reality of what had happened and thereby break the spell. To do this he must deeply examine every nuance and motivation of the personalities involved. Ultimately his quest for serenity will bring him to truths about human nature that are so simple and fundamental, they are perhaps universally understood by every fully formed adult. But to Tom's inner child, these truths have been consistently denied and unacknowledged.
A Prison of Lies is an unblinking look at the emotional development of a pathological mind. At times it is frightening and disturbing but it is also heroic and enlightening. It offers perhaps a unique Rosetta Stone for understanding many outcomes of mental illness with a clarity that can only be told by someone who has made that passage.
A Prison of Lies is a new kind of book on mental illness. Unlike many fictions which only use mental illness as a device to drive the plot, A Prison of lies plunges into the heart of the illness and keeps its focus there. And unlike nonfiction books on the topic, which tend to be dry and clinical, this book is a gripping read.
Buy the book from Amazon.com
About the Author
As this fiction is inspired by his own struggle with mental illness, Robert Thomas Doran is grateful to god for helping him recover from mental illness. Today he lives in Pennsylvania with his wife of fifteen years. A Prison of Lies was written as an act of faith and with the hope of helping others afflicted with mental illness.
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