Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok

The Memory PalaceThe Memory Palace by Mira Bartok
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I really struggled through this book. It had all the elements of a five star book but they just never came together for me. I suspect that it may be in part from my years of working with the mentally ill. To those who aren't familiar with schizophrenia, this book is probably extremely compelling. But, for me, it wasn't anything new. So I struggled while reading it. Not that it wasn't interesting - this family is obviously interesting. There is a lot of good stuff here. But, I think the way the book was structured made it seem to just flop all around with no real purpose - which is part of the reason that I didn't find it very impactful. At times, I had a hard time following the jagged storyline and the jumpy style of writing. It just felt all over the place for me.

There were many times when I almost gave up on this book. Where I found myself skimming just to get through a passage of the book. It just wasn't grabbing my attention or making me want to keep reading. I came to moments where I kept asking myself why I was reading if I wasn't actually getting anything whatsoever from it. But, I kept going because so many of my bookish friends loved this one and its one of those books that I SHOULD love based on my own interest in and years of working with the mentally ill. After finishing, I'm still underwhelmed by the book in its entirety. There were moments that blew me away but many more that did not. As a result, I couldn't give it more than 2 stars. But, I want to acknowledge that there is good stuff here - but it is unfortunately surrounded by a great deal of less than good stuff.

It's definitely worth a read for those with an interest in mental illness and its impact on families. Or for those interested in the mother/daughter relationship. Particularly if you don't mind a jumbled storyline.

Although it wasn't a 5 star for me, it was for a lot of people so give it a shot if the themes are of interest to you. Perhaps I am the minority on this one ...

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