My Rating: 3.5 hearts
Thoughts on the Novel: Life Is But a Dream by Brian James was a book that took me a while to get into because of its slow pace, especially in the first half. However, I also thought this was an advantage because it enables you to enjoy this beautifully written novel and really get into the mind of Sabrina as she slowly starts unraveling again.
When we first meet Sabrina, she’s at the Wellness Center; and her schizophrenia seems to be under control. By interspersing flashbacks throughout the novel, I thought James did a good job of showing the difference in Sabrina’s behaviour and personality in the present as opposed to them in the past.
As well, I found Sabrina’s perspective on her disorder to be pretty interesting. You can kind of understand why she doesn’t want to change and misses her old self, but at the same time, as an observer, you realize just how blurred the line between reality and imagination is for Sabrina when she’s having hallucinations or delusions. For me, reading Life Is But a Dream was sobering and scary because schizophrenia is an actual disorder that makes life very disorienting. James gives you a glimpse of that reality when Sabrina starts having hallucinations and delusions again. This makes her narrative unique, and it's jarring when her flashbacks start colliding with the present.
The romance in Life Is But a Dream wasn’t as enjoyable because it felt sort of fake. I also didn’t like the character of Alec because I thought he was a bad influence on Sabrina and didn’t understand how serious her disorder was. It’s hard for me to understand why a place like the Wellness Center would accept someone like Alec, and hope situations like that don’t occur very often in real life – or if they do, people need to be monitored more.
Life Is But a Dream was released by Feiwel and Friends in March 2012.
Comments About the Cover: I like how the girl is just lying on the ground and seems to be staring at the reader. I think it’s haunting and kind of creepy.
In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Raincoast Books) for free.