Review: ‘The Flawed Ones’, by Jay Chirino

Published By: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Publication Date: 30th October 2017

I.S.B.N.: 9780692928332

Format: Kindle and Paperback

http://theflawedones.com/

Blurb

In this compelling novel, Jay Chirino channels his own struggles with depression and addiction, creating a universal story that is painfully relatable for those with similar issues, and eye-opening for the ones that 

haven’t dealt with the challenges of mental illness.

After leaving behind a trail of drug-addled destruction, Jay finds himself confined to the walls of a psychiatric hospital. He is now compelled to confront his actions, his issues, and the past that led him to such downhill spiral. But what surprisingly affects him most are the people that he becomes surrounded by; people with considerable deficiencies that will shed some light on the things that truly matter in life.

“The Flawed Ones” is a thorough examination of the struggles of mental illness, depression, addiction, and the effects they have on the human condition. Most importantly, it proves that physical and mental shortcomings do not necessarily define who we truly are inside- that the heart is, in fact, untouched by our “flaws”, and that love will always prevail above all.

My Review

This is probably going to be more of a commentary than a review.

I didn’t finish the novel. I had to stop reading about three chapters in. Not because there was anything wrong with the writing, plot or characterisation, I hasten to add.

Jay emailed me earlier in the year to ask me to review his book, and I liked the sound of it so I agreed. I still like the sound of it, and the small part I read was compelling, evocatively written and really describes the distortion of thought that happens during a serious mental illness episode. If you’ve never been there, it might help you to understand what happens to reality when you’re depressed or dealing with a mental illness. I’ve never been hospitalised and this book is written by an American, so I can’t speak to the accuracy of the description of life in a mental health ward, but some of the doctors were recognisable as doctors I’ve had to see or traits I’ve noticed in them. The lack of interest in mental illness and caring for the mentally ill is so common, it’s a relief when you finally find one that gives a damn.

The problem is therefore not the book, but with me; I’m not up to reading that at the minute, my brain won’t cope with it. I tried, and it distressed me to the point that I was forced to stop and just listen to some music with my eyes closed because I couldn’t cope with the influx of sensations. I was on a train at the time, loud, ugly crying and shaking just weren’t possible. It’s very difficult when you’re mentally ill to read about others’ experiences because it’s so close to home, so very relatable, that it’s like going through the worst of it all over again, and some of us just aren’t strong enough to do that. Maybe when I’ve recovered some equilibrium – I’m still dealing with overflow from having to move then my garden getting burgled – I’ll give it another go, but right now? I just can’t do it.

It’s told in the first person and sometimes there’s a bit of stream of consciousness going on, memories and nightmares, so it’s very intense. If you want to know what it’s like, when reality gets so distorted the walls move in and out, and you have no idea why you’re depressed and anxious, and you try to cope with really destructive coping mechanisms but it doesn’t help, and sleep doesn’t happen, I recommend reading Jay’s narrative.

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