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I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Mass Market Paperback – November 7, 1989

214 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Convincing and emotionally gripping.”—The New York Times

“A rare and wonderful insight into the dark kingdom of the mind.”—Chicago Tribune

--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Joanne Greenberg’s semi-autobiographical novel stands as a timeless and unforgettable portrayal of mental illness.

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

Enveloped in the dark inner kingdom of her schizophrenia, sixteen-year-old Deborah is haunted by private tormentors that isolate her from the outside world. With the reluctant and fearful consent of her parents, she enters a mental hospital where she will spend the next three years battling to regain her sanity with the help of a gifted psychiatrist. As Deborah struggles toward the possibility of the “normal” life she and her family hope for, the reader is inexorably drawn into her private suffering and deep determination to confront her demons. A modern classic, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden remains every bit as poignant, gripping, and relevant today as when it was first published.

“A rare and wonderful insight into the dark kingdom of the mind.”—Chicago Tribune

--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451160312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451160317
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #278,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 123 people found the following review helpful By "lynkfri13" on September 9, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
~ ~ ~One thing I've noticed is that most people who have read this book had it recommended to them as an adolescent. If you didn't-read it now!
This book is fascinating and extremely well written. Adults will probably have the perspective to enjoy it even more than adolescents do. I first read this book when I was 11,and I didn't quite understand it all, but it was still absorbing and fascinating. I reread it many times over the years, each reading feeling more swept away by Deborah's story. Now I'm 43 years old, an M.D., and I still love this book.
~ ~ ~
The story of Deborah, a 16-year-old schizophrenic young Jewish girl, is told with amazing insight into the delusions and hallucinations of this type of mental illness. At the same time the "unreality" Deborah experiences is described so creatively, and evocatively, and is so rich and textured, that it is very easy to find yourself falling into "her" vision of the world. This is especially true when her rich fantasies are contrasted with the cold, impersonal and randomly cruel life of the hospital (unfortunately I believe this is a very accurate description of even what was a "good" psychiatric hospital in the 1950's).
-- Deborah's progress closer to "sanity" contains moments of clarity and connection so beautifully described, they can still bring me close to tears.
~~~~
If I could recommend only one book in the whole of Amazon.com: this would be the one!
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97 of 99 people found the following review helpful By shel99 on May 31, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read and loved this book as an adolescent. I recently saw it at the library and decided to take it out and read it again. I just finished re-reading it and found it as powerful as I remembered, possibly even more so.
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden presents a complete picture of mental illness from the patient's point of view, without the stigma of wrongness that is frequently associated with it. The picture painted is a very real one, from Deborah's relief when the doctors confirm what she's known all along, that something is not right, to the way her family deals with the fact of her illness. Greenberg/Green evokes very strong emotions with her writing. You feel Deborah's fear that her secret world of Yr will punish her for revealing its existence to her doctor, and you share in her triumph when she begins to make her way back to the world. I put down this book with a little more understanding of how it must feel to be mentally ill. I would recommend it to anyone, teen or adult.
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65 of 67 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I always loved this book when I was a teenager - I must have read it at least 4-5 times (actually, I'm an avid reader, so that isn't really that unusual). However, I have just re-read the book at 30, after 5 years of treatment for my own mental disorders, and have seen so much in the book that I never saw before. Perhaps this book appealed to me so much as an unkowingly sick teen because I could relate to Deborah Blau, although her disorder is of an entirely different type and scale from mine.
I must say that this book should be required reading for anyone dealing with a loved-one's journey towards mental health. One thing people without these problems can't understand is that it is easier to stay sick - that getting healthy is hard work, scary, and LONG! And along the way, the symptoms may get worse, while you're actually getting better. This book is the first time I've seen someone try to explain this phenomenom - that the mentally ill cling to their symptoms as to a life-line, using them as protection while they heal, until the reach the point where those symptoms are no longer needed.
After re-reading this book, I understand my own treatment so much better, and will recommend it to my loved-ones who have to deal with my treatment - maybe they can get a glimmer of understanding. It is rare in this world for any "healthy" person to truly understand mental illness
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By "lynkfri13" on March 16, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
One thing I've noticed is that most people who've read this book, read it first as an adolescent. If you didn't-read it now! This book is fascinating and extremely well written. Adullts will probably have the perspective to enjoy it even more than adolescents do. I first read this book when I was 11,and I didn't quite understand it all, but it caught me up, and I reread it many times over the years, each reading feeling more swept away by by Deborah's story. Now I'm 43 years old, an M.D., and I still love this book. The story of Deborah, a 16 y.o. schizophrenic young jewish girl, is told with amazing insight into the delusions and hallucinations of this type of mental illness. At the same time the "unreality" Deborah experiences is described so creatively, and evocatively, and is so rich and textured, that it is very easy to find yourself falling into "her" vision of the world. This is especially true when her rich fantasies are contrasted with the cold, impersonal and randomly cruel life of the hospital(unfortunately I believe this is a very accurate description of even what was a "good" pyschiatric hospital in the 1950's).
Deborah's progress closer to "sanity" contains moments of clarity and connection so beautifully described, they can still bring me close to tears. If I could recommend only one book in the whole of Amazon.com: this would be the one!
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