Many books take on the subject of mental illness, many more are set in psychiatric wards, but usually these are narratives that recount a single story or perspective. What distinguishes Memoirs from the Asylum is the fact that the reader is introduced not only to individuals in a mental institution but the larger community of the institutionalized lifestyle. Ken Weene introduces his reader to numerous, dynamically-drawn characters that absolutely come alive on the page, not only through their private battles but how these patients interact and perceive the institution they've been relegated to. This is a powerful portrayal of what life is in an institutionalized setting and how corruption can and does exist for some residents. He brings up real problems that are often not discussed, and humanizes his characters in a way that few authors have been able to. I hope this book gets the attention it deserves because it is truly an eye-opening tale(s) that demands a reader's attention and empathy for those who are often shunned or ignored by society. Read it.
This incredible novel is more than just a book about the insane. The characters in all their crazed out existences question what it means to be human and what happens when our greatest fears trap us from living. Set during the 1970s/1980s the book is reminiscent of the movies, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Girl Interrupted only with a more uplifting, thought provoking edge. Like its movie predecessors this novel pits the inmates against the staff, but therein lays the excellent dichotomy that … more
I guess it isn't a review when the author writes about his own book. But I want to urge you to read this one. Why? Because it raises not only questions about mental health but also important questions about the human experience and the choices we all have to make. If you go to Amazon and read the reviews, I think you'll be impressed. Here is the link to one of the trailers for the book. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGyl0JMTEJ4   … more
"I hope...that it has made you think and feel." The old movie, The Snake Pit with Gloria DeHavilland (1948) was on television this week. I remember when I first watched it, I was fascinated and yet so sympathetic. Another movie, Sybil (1976), came along and I was even more pulled in by that story. Both of these were, I believe, based upon books. Why are we fascinated with those books or movies that reflect the abnormal? Do we see some part of ourselves there? Do we whisper … more
Creatively written in the present tense and in diary/documentary format. The writing is clear and flows easily. Filled with realistic characters and events, this is a fascinating read that entertains and educates. (Irene Brodsky Faculty Brooklyn College, CUNY Adult Education Program, Author "Poetry Unplugged")