Leave of Absence by Tanya J. Peterson is one of those books that I have overlooked for far too long. It’s has been lingering away unread on my kindle and now I want to hang my head in shame about that. Because this one is an underrated gem and it needs to be read and praised!Leave of Absence by Tanya J. Peterson
Published by Inkwater Press on 4 Jan 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Depression & Mental Illness, Emotions & Feelings, Psychological
Source: Received from Author
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“Each substance of a grief has twenty shadows.” -- William Shakespeare
Hollywood has stereotyped the schizophrenic. Prepare for your perceptions to be shattered. Penelope Baker grapples with schizophrenia. She has suffered losses, and her grief has deep and numerous shadows. Oliver Graham, utterly bereft, wrestles with guilt. He has suffered losses, and his grief has deep and numerous shadows. Leave of Absence unveils the complexity—and the humanity—underlying psychological struggles.
When Oliver Graham’s suicide attempt fails, he is admitted to Airhaven Behavioral Health Center. Unable to cope with the traumatic loss of his beloved wife and son, he finds a single thread of attachment to life in Penelope, a fellow patient wrestling with schizophrenia’s devastating impact on her once happy and successful life. They both struggle to discover a reason to live while Penelope’s fiance William strives to convince her that she is worth loving.
As Oliver and Penelope try to achieve emotional stability, face others who have been part of their lives, and function in the “real world,” they discover that human connection may be reason enough to go on.
First Line of Leave of Absence by Tanya J. Peterson:
“Officer Gregory Jacobi eased himself slowly into a sitting position on the ledge of the roof of the eighteen-story building.”
Things I loved about Leave of Absence by Tanya J. Peterson:
- Oliver and Penelope: When we first met both of these characters, neither of them wowed me. They were odd, broken and even a little unlovable. BUT page by page, they won me over and before too long my heart was bursting with feels for them. They are totally unforgettable and even thinking about them now I feel all warm and gooey.
- Strong Friendship: Oliver and Penelope are not a couple. They are strangers who meet in a mental institution and slowly build a rock solid friendship. It is one of the strongest, more supportive friendships I’ve seen in a book and it’s the kind of friendship that everyone aspires to have.
- Mental Illness Theme: This is done so well. It’s not fairytale like and there are no easy solutions or straightforward cures. It’s sad and heartfelt but ultimately hopeful. It made me understand so much than I had previously about schizophrenia and I feel that I’ve had a glimpse of just what it’s like to have this illness.
- Palpable Pain: I don’t want a book with such a serious theme to be wishy-washy, I want to feel the emotions. And I did. The pain that radiates off Oliver just about broke my heart. He is suffering from Post Traumatic Shock and severe depression. And nothing is watered down. I felt broken just thinking about his life. And every now and then I’d be lured into a false sense of security with a lovely memory that he was thinking about and then I’d be jolted back into his reality with a shocking bang.
- Artistic Feel: There is a fantastic section on colours and colour therapy. It’s so vivid and imaginative and I loved reading about this.
Overall this is an unforgettable book, with unforgettable characters. It delivers a powerful message on what living with a mental illness is like and it has made me hugely aware of just how I can be more supportive of anyone I come across in similar circumstances. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
|Did I feel it?|
Who should read Leave of Absence by Tanya J. Peterson?
I’d strongly recommend this to anyone that wants to read a book that is straightforwardly honest about the reality of living with a mental illness. And that has characters that you connect to and that make you live and feel every emotion. Fans of OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu should also enjoy.
Thanks to the author for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.