Friday, 20 October 2017

Book review: The Flawed Ones

The Flawed Ones - A Story of Mental Illness, Addiction and Love by Jay Chirino

Jay Chirino has experienced depression and anxiety since childhood. His mental illness lead to self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. All of this is openly and honestly admitted in the opening lines of the introduction to his new book The Flawed Ones. The introduction is strong, and relays Chirino's struggles, his motivation behind the book, and the admission that he is still on meds for his mental health. (Thank God someone is admitting it!)
"...a few months back, someone asked me what I wanted most when I was going through my depression, and after thinking about it for a while, I figured it out. What I am trying to accomplish with this story is to help you see that you are not alone."
However, the book isn't a memoir. Instead it draws on Chirino's real life experiences with mental illness, addiction and the psych ward, blending fiction with his lived reality.

Following admission for a 72-hour psychiatric hold, Jay experiences life on the psych ward and the many characters that call it home.

The book deals with not only the expected themes of mental illness, stigma, and addiction, but also with religion, perception, love and failures of the healthcare system.

Its strongest points are when Jay is in conversation with his psychiatrist. He relates what it's like being in a depressive episode, telling the story of his mental illness and where it came from. Clearly, these are pieces that come from Jay's real experience, rather than a semi-fictional account. This is not a memoir, but I often wished it was. Chirino's real-life story is the most intriguing part of the book. There's an honesty to the words in these parts that is lacking elsewhere; even if his memories to his psychiatrist are full of more flowery embellishments than most people would ever share verbally.

The blend of fiction and reality wasn't always seamless. Characters were overly described, rather than revealed. The constant commenting on women's appearance comes across as seedy rather than what-I-hope-was-the-intended subtle. But its strengths lie in the honesty of mental illness and addiction and the hope of recovery.

The book is due to be published on 1 November 2017.

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*Disclaimer* This book was given to me in return for a review, however the review is entirely my own opinion. 

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