“I Never Promised You a Rose Garden”
I never promised you a rose garden, was written by Joanne Greenberg. This book is a semi-autobiography about a girls’ three-year struggle with schizophrenia. Deborah Blau, the main character in the novel, is a smart and artistic young woman. She has created an alternate world for herself, the Kingdom of Yr, to get her away from her terrifying reality. At the age of five, Deborah underwent surgery to remove a tumor from her ovaries. This experience was very traumatic for her and caused her a lot of physical pain. During her childhood, Deborah went through anti-Semitic abuse from nearly everyone around her. When Deborah first would escape to the Kingdom of Yr, it was a beautiful and wonderful place, but over time, the gods of Yr became tyrannical dictators to control all of Deborah’s actions.
The novel shows how this mental illness affects not only the person with the illness, but the people around them too. For example, Deborah’s parents, Jacob and Esther, are torn between loving their daughter and being unsure of how they should feel and what they should do. They still, however, find it in themselves to allow Deborah to continue treatment although it doesn’t seem like her recovery is progressing for a long time. Also her younger sister Suzy, finds herself having to arrange her life around Deborah’s illness, and feels neglected because it seems that she’s just and extra person, and irrelevant.
When Deborah gets help, she gets it from therapist Dr. Clara Fried. She slowly gets Deborah to trust her because she never forces her to do anything. Over the three years she helps her, she helps Deborah obtain to ability to choose between reality, and the frightening creatures of Yr. Throughout the three years in the mental hospital, Deborah made friends with the other patients at the hospital. Later on, although still fearing earth and reality, Deborah earns her GED and wins her struggle against schizophrenia.
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