Review: Life is But a Dream by Brian James

Life is But a Dream cover imageSabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it’s the world that’s crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she’ll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? her decision may have fatal consequences.

A common trend with people suffering from different mental illnesses is stopping medication. There’s a variety of reasons people stop. One of them being other people’s urging and another that they alter your personality. Of course, the latter is kind of true. Life is But a Dream follows Sabrina’s stay at a wellness center to try to help her with her schizophrenia.

She sees and hears things for starters. She often lies about the severity for fear of everyone thinking bad things or getting mad at her. James nailed the basis of a mental illness of this severity. He pinned down the feel of a psychiatric hosptial. The result of it all is this sometimes magical, a bit frightening, and always intense ride.

I have to say, Life is But a Dream was kind of a hard read for me at times, not because it was bad but because it was so real. Each character holds qualities and characteristics that at times I wondered just what James has encountered in his life to be able to capture it all so perfectly. I feel so much for Sabrina, I’m not schizophrenic but I can kind of relate to her entire situation. Alec, while I liked him, I wanted to slap him. The fact he cannot see the severity of Sabrina’s situation from just talking to her was frustrating, it happens but still frustrating!

There is the typically dreaded insta-love, but because of the mental issues and situation, it fits and makes complete sense.

Life is But a Dream is sure to appeal to those who love reading about situations they haven’t been in, especially those that love reading about mental illnesses.

I received Life Is But a Dream in exchange for my honest opinion from the publisher.

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  1. I don’t mind reading books like this where they’re so real and difficult to read, it’s a good challenge and change from all the fluffiness of some YA. Great review :)

  2. kimba88 says:

    I tend to get to emotional vested in this type of you the real factor gets me every time. I look to reading as an escape from everyday stress and while I do occasionally enjoy this type of novel its one i need to be in the mood for. Your review is wonderful and i have marked this novel for when the mood strikes me. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Amanda says:

      I do too! It’s definitely one of those titles to read when you are in the mood, if you are a mood-reader. I am, I *love* books about issues like this, but I have to be in a place I can read them.

  3. I’m so glad to hear that the author nailed the mental illness side of this; I haven’t really heard a whole lot about this one. I think I’ll have to give this a read, mental illness is such a fascinating and frightening world.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  4. This looks like a pretty intense and good read. Gotta check it out.

  5. i like dark Ya and i thing this is the right book for me
    gr8 review

  6. I loved the writing for this book so much-James captured the unique way Sabrina sees the world and helped me keep fully immersed in everything that was going on.

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