Summary: Sabrina has always known that she was “special”. But three months ago, “special” became “crazy”. Sabrina’s parents sent her to a mental institution, where she is currently being treated for schizophrenia. She’s on the road to recovery; becoming more like the people who are treating her symptoms, but Sabrina isn’t sure that she wants to give up her beautiful, vivid world. When Alec is admitted to the facility, he encourages Sabrina to keep hold of her fantasies; he says that it’s everyone else that’s crazy, not her. But when Sabrina stops taking her medications, things go downhill fast.
My thoughts: Life is But a Dream is a beautiful book. Sabrina’s imaginary world of color and sunlight is written so vividly that it’s easy to get lost in the story. Brian James’ portrayal of schizophrenia isn’t ugly; it’s quite the opposite. But it’s this beauty that makes the reader feel a bit unsettled. We know something is wrong with Sabrina, so even though her point of view may lead us to hope otherwise, we can’t help but feel a sense of dread as the story progresses. I loved this haunting depiction of mental illness; Brian James nails it in terms of accessibility and simultaneous strangeness. Readers will have no trouble at all adjusting to seeing the world through the eyes of a schizophrenic, and may even start liking Sabrina’s delusions.
Though we may assume that Sabrina would be a highly flawed heroine, she actually isn’t. Other than her mental illness, she’s a sweet, normal girl, and she really doesn’t do anything to make the reader dislike her. I enjoyed reading through Sabrina’s point of view, and found her to be a likable character, albeit a bit mild. Alec, on the other hand, is a bit different. It’s difficult to decide whether Alec is someone we align with; he is genuinely kind, but his intentions toward Sabrina seem a bit dangerous. Their love is of the “at first sight” variety, and we can’t help but questions whether we want a happy ending for them or not. This is part of what makes Life is But a Dream feel honest, though, because not all real-life relationships are perfectly healthy.
Life is But a Dream is a fairly dark yet completely gorgeous contemporary YA read that is perfect for someone interested in mental illness. It’s interesting to get a glimpse into that world, especially because Brian James executes the schizophrenic narration so well. Life is But a Dream will evoke a rollercoaster of emotions, so prepare yourself before diving in!
For people who like: Mental illness, realistic fiction, unhealthy relationships, beautiful imagery.
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Here we will be discussing books to choose the best literature for reading. This blog of Samantha Hansen is the place where she post reviews of the books she has read. We review audiobooks, regular books and eBooks for authors and publishers as well as any reader.