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I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Mass Market Paperback – November 7, 1989
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“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 the 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 the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The main character is a high-school girl by the name of Deborah Blau. She has created the world of Yr in her head and lives between here, meaning the world most of us live in, and there. "There" being Yr. She has created gods in Yr, a few of them she can call friends. There is another language she speaks that is of Yr origin. There is a system of justice and punishment. She is the only one who knows of this place until she slowly lets in Dr. Fried, whom she refers to as Furii.
The book follows Deborah's relationships with her doctor, other patients, friends, and family. It vividly describes Yr and how she feels when she is there and what drives her to go there. Ultimately, it tells the story of living with schizophrenia and the struggle of a young woman to cope with and overcome the condition.
This is a hard read, one of the hardest I've ever read. I would go as far as to say it is arduous. The book has a copyright of 1964 and some of the words are hard to understand because nobody uses them anymore. The story sometimes gets a little dry, but you can't help but cheer for Deborah for every victory she has. Likewise, it's sad when she has setbacks.
It's worth the time it took to read. I can't say I particularly enjoyed it, but I did learn a lot and it renewed my respect for the mentally ill and the doctors who care for them. Sometimes it's good to get a refresher and a new appreciation.
For those who don't know, this third-person story is autobiographical, written initially under the pseudonym Hannah Green. It tells the author's story of her struggle with schizophrenia. Her real name is Joanne Greenberg, and Joanne was recently the subject of Daniel Mackler's documentary, "Take These Broken Wings." "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden" tells how she was successfully treated by Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, who took time from her lectures and writing and to treat this 16-year-old girl. Fromm-Reichmann's biography by Gail Hornstein is titled: "To Redeem One Person is to Save the World."
The book is co-written by the patient and her psychiatrist, so you can see the therapy from the perspective of both people. The hallucinations and slipping in and out of reality are well-documented.
The patient's psychiatrist, through talk therapy which takes years, is able to help the patient integrate into society. The psychiatrist's colleagues consider the patient's situation hopeless, so they discourage the continued therapy.
Like "cutters" today the patient likes to burn herself with cigarettes. Many of the staff smoked on the psychiatric ward, and they were always leaving smoldering cigarettes behind even though they knew the patient would use them to burn herself, leaving infected sores on both arms. When management banned smoking on the ward, the staff members became angry at the patient.