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I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne…
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I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (1964)

by Joanne Greenberg

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (32)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  All languages (35)
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CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Deborah Blau, bright and artistically talented, has created a world, the Kingdom of Yr, as a form of defense from a confusing, frightening reality. When Deborah was five, she underwent surgery to remove a tumor in her ovaries, a traumatic experience that involved a great deal of physical pain and shame. During her childhood, Deborah suffered frequent abuse from her anti-Semitic peers and neighbors. When Deborah first created Yr, it was a beautiful, comforting haven, but over time the gods of Yr became tyrannical dictators who ruled Deborah's every word and action.

The novel presents the issue of mental illness from multiple viewpoints. Deborah's three years in the hospital provide us with a portrait of mental illness as it is experienced by the patient. Deborah's parents, Esther and Jacob, are torn between their love for their daughter and their shame at the stigma of her illness. Nevertheless, they find the courage to allow Deborah to continue treatment even when there are few signs of recovery for a long while. Deborah struggles with guilt and resentment at her parents' disappointed expectations for her while her younger sister Suzy copes with her frustration at having to arrange her life around Deborah's illness.

Deborah's strong-willed, empathetic, brilliant therapist, Clara Fried, slowly wins Deborah's trust. She never forces Deborah to accept her point of view. Over the course of three years, she helps Deborah gain the courage to fight her illness. Her goal is to give Deborah the ability to choose between the reality of Earth, despite all its faults and problems, over the phantoms of Yr. Meanwhile, Deborah develops friendships of a kind with the other patients in the hospital despite their fear of emotional investment in other people. Although she fears the reality of Earth, Deborah eventually earns a GED and resolves to win her struggle against her illness. ( )
  bostonwendym | Jul 20, 2016 |
I've read and re-read this book since I was a teenager. Every time I gain something from reading it, whether it's the young woman's journey, or the details of the insane asylum where she lives, or the lives of the other women with whom she's housed. It's a frightening and sometimes difficult read, as the images stay with you, but it says a lot about why the mentally ill need good, clean, compassionate living conditions with help and therapy. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
In this novel Greenberg describes a young girl's battle with mental illness.
Deborah is admitted to a mental hospital after a suicide attempt. Over the years, she has built up an elaborate alternative reality in which she can hide from the world, but as she grows older this 'safe' place becomes less pleasant and her suicide attempt is a desperate cry for help. In the mental hospital her situation initially gets worse, but slowly but surely, with the help of a devoted psychiatrist, she fights back the disease and makes her way back into the 'normal' world.
I really loved this novel; it gives a very impressive first hand insight into the mind of someone suffering from a mental disorder, and how this can affect all aspects of your life. The novel focuses on Deborah's experiences in the hospital and her feelings of fear, anger and depression. With her psychiatrist she digs into her past and tries to fight back her imaginary world, so she can focus on being in the real world. Though the process is difficult and she suffers relapses several times, she doesn't give up the fight.
I found the novel very realistic and, having suffered from depression myself, some parts were very recognizable. The methods used in the mental hospital are outdated, so the novel also gives a nice view of psychiatric treatment in the 60's.
I think this novel would be a good read for anybody who wishes to understand more about psychiatric disorders and what it's like for a patient. As for myself, Deborah's strength to get up and try again gives me hope for the future - there might be relapses, but you can always get up and try again... ( )
1 vote Britt84 | Jun 2, 2016 |
A semi-autobiographical book about a sixteen year old schizophrenic girl who lives in her dark imaginary world. Her parents take her to a mental hospital where she stays for three years. ( )
  jenn88 | Feb 14, 2016 |
Compelling & dark. A great book, with lots of dramatic turns. ( )
  elle-kay | Jan 27, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (29 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joanne Greenbergprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bull, ToneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ringnes, HaagenAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swildens, ElisabethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mothers
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They rode through the lush farm country in the middle of autumn, through quaint old towns whose streets showed the brilliant colors of turning trees.
Quotations
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Deborah lachte. "Ärzte! Verbringen Sie ein herrliches Jahr mit Reisen in fremde Länder! Besuchen Sie Ihr Irrenhaus als Patient!"
Carla lachte. "Reisen Sie ohne Ihr Prestige, Ihre bürgerlichen Rechte oder Ihre Selbstachtung! Erschauern Sie vor dem verlogenen Schön-Schön, wenn Sie auf der anderen Seite des Zauns stehen!"
(Kapitel 23)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Het paradijs dat niet beloofd werd, is de wereld waarin dokter Fried haar patiënte, Deborah Blau, hoo;" terug te brengen.
Hannah Green poogt in dit boek ek schizofrenie. altijd beschouwd als eer der ergste vormen van w.rmzi.;. begrijpelijk te maken.
Zij beschrijft het uiterst moeizame gevecht van Deborah tussen de gewone wereld en liet 'koninkrijk V R'. ELH koninkrijk waar je je kunt koesteren. YR is behalve een prettige poëtisch» wereld ook een wereld met gruwelijke tegels, een eigen tijdrckcning ^r. een eigen taal.
Drie jaar duurt de strijd van dokter Fried tegen de heersers van YR. Dar. zegeviert in het meisje Deborah de vrije wil om 10 breken niet dt machten uit haar waanwereld en wordt zij weer baa-over zichzelf.
Deze unieke beschrijving van dit schizofrene meisje heeft in korte tijd talloze mensen geboeid. Een onthullend boek over de geesteszieke mens. Dit verhelderende boek werd verfilmd niet Bibi Andersson en Kathleen Quinlan in de hoofdrollen.
Hannah Green (1932), pseudoniem van Joanne Greenberg, woont hoog in de Rocky Mountains in een huis, dat zij zelf boitwdi samen met haar man. In haar jeugd leed z: zelf aan een ernstige, geestesziekte, en alleer, dank zij haar enorme doorzettingsvermogen en de goede begeleiding van haar psythiairi vocht zij zich door deze periode heen. Ik heb j e nooit een Rozentuin beloutd ï. een neerslag van haar eigen ervaringet; tijdens haar ziekte. In al haar boeken kom: haar begrip tot uiting voor minderheden. 'abnormalen', mensen die in hun gedrag en opvattingen aj'wijken van wat wij als normaal beschouwen.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451160312, Mass Market Paperback)

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden is the story of a sixteen-year-old who retreats from reality into the bondage of a lushly imagined but threatening kingdom, and her slow and painful journey back to sanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:59 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Chronicles the three-year battle of a mentally ill, but perceptive, teenage girl against a world of her own creation, emphasizing her relationship with the doctor who gave her the ammunition of self- understanding with which to destroy that world of fantasy.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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