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Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Review - A Prison of Lies by Robert Thomas Doran plus Signed Book Giveaway !!

Book Review
A Prison of Lies
by Robert Thomas Doran

Book Description
Almost without his notice, Tom had slipped from childhood through adolescence and then into young adulthood woefully unprepared for that transition. Both his childhood and his adolescence had been hells of isolation and rejection. And there had been no emotional support at home either. His only tranquility had been the wilderness, to which he escaped whenever possible.

But this is only the set up for the real hell which was to follow, coming in the guise of a beautiful and seemingly innocent young women named Mary. Schooled in etiquette, God, and discipline, she was equally skillful at secrecy and pretense. And unable to see behind her subtle facades, Tom mistakes her demure reserve for shyness and under that illusion, he tumbles into a deep, undying love, into which inexorably pour all of his pent up needs and desires. The delusion is only broken when Mary suddenly reveals a cold indifference to his emotions. Then upon dispatching him with sudden sly cruelty and consummate betrayal, she immediately vanishes behind a veil of silence.

In this explosive coming of age story we are taken down the rabbit hole of unrequited love and rejection, where in the depths of despair, Tom must wrestle with the devil of his darkest emotions and deny that devil his every temptation to commit heinous acts of evil. There is no rape or murder beyond the wild imaginings of Tom, who in the aftermath of Mary's brutality, goes completely psycho, in this nightmarish book of tragic love. In fact, it is almost miraculous that those atrocities do not happen, given the intensity of Tom's rage.

In witnessing Tom's struggle, however, we are brought to a better understanding of human sexuality, how people can be driven to violence, and why people sometimes die by suicide. As Tom makes a slow and arduous climb out of his abyss, we learn how to survive heartbreak and emotional abuse. Launching into psychotherapy, he begins the process of peeling back the onion to find his hidden demons. During this painful process he struggles with an inability to forgive himself for becoming a victim, and in equal part, an inability to forgive the ghost of Mary, for her profound cruelty and dishonesty. But with the scepter of suicide ever lurking, it becomes increasingly clear how much his very survival depends on his letting go of his anger and letting go of the past.

You may prefer to skip the foreword (written by and intended for professional therapists) and advance to the beginning of the story, which holds some of the books first cryptic poems that hint of lost love. They are descriptive of the struggle to come.

In order to come to terms with what has befallen him, Tom must first confront the reality of what had happened and thereby break the spell. To do this he must deeply examine every nuance and motivation of the personalities involved. Ultimately his quest for serenity will bring him to truths about human nature that are so simple and fundamental, they are perhaps universally understood by every fully formed adult. But to Tom's inner child, these truths have been consistently denied and unacknowledged.

A Prison of Lies is an unblinking look at the emotional development of a pathological mind. At times it is frightening and disturbing but it is also heroic and enlightening. It offers perhaps a unique Rosetta Stone for understanding many outcomes of mental illness with a clarity that can only be told by someone who has made that passage.

A Prison of Lies is a new kind of book on mental illness. Unlike many fictions which only use mental illness as a device to drive the plot, A Prison of lies plunges into the heart of the illness and keeps its focus there. And unlike nonfiction books on the topic, which tend to be dry and clinical, this book is a gripping read.
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About the Author
As this fiction is inspired by his own struggle with mental illness, Robert Thomas Doran is grateful to god for helping him recover from mental illness. Today he lives in Pennsylvania with his wife of fifteen years. A Prison of Lies was written as an act of faith and with the hope of helping others afflicted with mental illness.

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"What tragedy there is in parents imparting flaws to their children in their attempt to impart perfection!"

Our Book Review
This book throws you into the world of mental illness showing how painful events and memories can build up inside of you and can spiral completely out of control.  The book can be read by people who have never suffered mental health issues and want to take a peak inside to try and understand and also by those who have already suffered similar difficulties, which in turn may bring this usually unspoken subject to light.

The author's own mental illness has been developed into this fully detailed story, full of raw emotion, following a young man named Tom through his development from a youth into a grown man. Completely unsupported, both mentally and physically, by his peers who are such a domineering factor, they seemed more concerned about what other people thought than to really help him through such a tough hormonal time where he needed guidance with so many questions and feelings. He struggles on isolated, feeling that he is unworthy, constantly doubting himself, not fitting in, with resentment, confusion and anger building within him. 

Tom finally meets a girl called Mary, who seems to accept him and he feels accepted by her family and you almost feel relief for him until the he realizes that things are not what they first appear to be, leaving him in the end completely at a  loss. more confused and feeling like he is being dangled from a very long piece of string. The family may think they are trying to do the right thing by their daughter Mary but not realizing the long lasting effect it would have on Tom.  The silent, gradual build up of hatred within himself and for those around him slowly gets worse.

To get a real sense of what the book is about in certain parts the author uses strong and very descriptive language which requires an open mind.  The thoughts, dark fantasies and dreams in the book may offend some readers but as this is a true account of mental illness I feel that this reinforces the story to the reader.

I feel that the author has been very courageous in putting pen to paper on such a difficult subject.  The author's well written descriptive story will bring out a number of emotions as you read it including frustration, anger and there were a couple of times I literally wanted to throw the book at the wall as the author was describing events and the repetitive destructive cycle Tom was in, growing stronger with each thought. 

The book makes you rethink how you talk and treat others, how a simple look at the wrong time or a rushed reply to someone may be portrayed incorrectly.  It especially made me think about my two boys and how they take so much on board at such a young age and how it may affect them in future years.

"When I was a kid, you told me that I was very opinionated.  I took it to heart, and for years it bothered me, until one day, I realized it really only meant that my opinion was different from yours"

Our Rating

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Sharon x

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  1. This sounds like a sad and emotional book showing the importance of mental health care.

  2. My (ex) step-mom struggled with mental illness. Seeing it first hand gave me a lot of compassion for those who struggle in this way. Sounds like a good book!

  3. Wow this sounds like a really great read! Thanks for sharing! def be checking it out!

  4. Sounds like a fab read and right up my hubbys street!!

  5. These sounds like a really good book! I haven't heard of this author before but I will be adding this to my "wishlist" on Goodreads.

  6. I am not sure how I would feel about this one. It might me feel a little anxious

  7. Definitely a book I'll be adding to my reading list. It sounds like a really thought provoking and touching read covering some really important issues.


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