Sunday, October 16, 2011

Book Review: Demons in the Age of Light by Whitney Robinson

Yesterday afternoon, upon completion of by blog review for The Sleepwalkers, I decided to pick up the next novel on my to-read list. Although it is a pretty short novel, standing at only 238 pages, I thought I would just read a few chapters and spend the rest of my afternoon cleaning.

The problem? I couldn't put this book down! I received Demons in the Age of Light by Whitney Robinson through the Goodreads First Reads program a month or so ago. It sounded really good, very Sylvia Plath, but I had not intended to be really sucked into it!

Here is a summary of Demons in the Age of Light, courtesy of Goodreads:

With the skill of a gifted novelist, twenty-three-year-old Whitney Robinson recounts the harrowing true story of her descent into mental illness soon after she arrived at college. Her doctor labeled the illness schizophrenia, but Whitney felt that she became possessed by a malevolent, seductive entity that attempted to influence her into harming herself and others.

Institutionalized and heavily medicated, Whitney encounters other horrors and mysteries within the walls of a psychiatric hospital. Determined to release herself from pharmacological shackles, Whitney finally confronts and expels her demon through sheer will and alternative methods, including an attempted exorcism and shamanic healing.

Whitney's saga parallels current discussions in the media regarding American psychiatry's dependence on drug-based treatments and the renewed interest in alternative healing methods of eastern and indigenous cultures, which, according to a recent New York Times article "The Americanization of Mental Illness," have been revealed to be at least as effective as pharmaceutically driven treatments.
Whitney's story of survival and personal growth will serve as a living model for others.

This novel immediately caught my attention as a memoir. The author is my age and is experiencing John Nash symptoms. I believe she's probably as smart as he is, too. The moment I started reading, I knew I could not put the book down. Robinson writes in such a descriptive, dramatic tone that I couldn't help but get sucked into the novel. There were several parts where, in spite of the schizophrenic situations, the author's descriptions made me laugh. The novel was so raw. Robinson opens up completely to her readers, confessing her most embarrassing and intimate situations. She reflects on the past and analyzes her future.

I don't even think my review could do this novel justice. All you need to know is that you need to buy/borrow this book now. Set aside 4 hours to read it. Enjoy. You won't regret it.

And my numbers...
Demons in the Age of Light by Whitney Robinson
Rating: 5/5
Pages: 238
2011 Reading Goal: 10,562/12,500 (right on track, woo hoo!)

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A couple of updates...
  1. I added a poll to the bottom of this page for you to vote on my page goal for next year! Please do cast your vote. The poll closes on Christmas Eve.
  2. I'm coming up on my one-year blogiversary on October 24th. I'll be doing a pretty big giveaway. Stay tuned!
  3. Thanks for being such wonderful readers!

1 comment:

  1. I don't often read memoirs but the fact that you couldn't put it down is persuasive. Fab review.


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