Words on Bathroom Walls by Julie Walton was more than I expected. I suppose that’s easy to say considering I wasn’t expecting anything. I read the synopsis and I was intrigued. I received this book from Uppercase Books as a part of a subscription and had never heard of it or the author.
Thank fuck for Uppercase, otherwise I would not have read this amazing book.
I should keep it pretty, pretty with this review here. I might throw in a bit of mess here and there because I’m me.
First a quick word from the author. . .
Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophr
enia. He sees and hears people who aren’t there: Rebecca, a beautiful girl who understands him; the Mob Boss, who harasses him; and Jason, the naked guy who’s unfailingly polite. It should be easy to separate the real from the not real, but Adam can’t.
Still, there’s hope. As Adam starts fresh at a new school, he begins a drug trial that helps him ignore his visions. Suddenly everything seems possible, even love. When he meets Maya, a fiercely intelligent girl, he desperately wants to be the great guy that she thinks he is. But then the miracle drug begins to fail, and Adam will do anything to keep Maya from discovering his secret.
Let’s get started, yes?
I have a brother who has paranoia schizophrenia. He was diagnosed in his mid 20’s. We’ve had our ups and downs since so this book hit home for me.
Adam has tried everything under the sun to help live with schizophrenia but so far nothing has really worked. We gets a chance to be apart of a clinical trial for a new drug, it was a game changer. The medicine helps but the side effects may cost him more than just his mental well being.
The brilliant thing about Adam is that he understands that he is sick and with that understands comes a great deal of responsibility. He needs to keep his illness a secret from those outside of his immediate family. He is very much aware of how the world feels about the mentally ill – scared. He doesn’t want people to be scared of him and broke my heart reading his words, his truth.
Now that he knows about me, about the illness, things are different. He doesn’t know what to do with me anymore. We’ll still sit and watch TV, but I can almost hear him thinking when I’m in the room. The weirdest feeling, aside from seeing things that aren’t there, is sitting on the couch next to a grown man who is suddenly afraid of me. He didn’t used to be afraid. It’s hard not to take that personally. – Adam
Can you imagine everyone suddenly being afraid of you when your heart is good and you never want to hurt anybody? Poor Adam. That was one of the most difficult things about this book was for me. I remember becoming afraid of my brother – in all fairness, he did beat me with a metal folding chair once. Granted he had yet to be properly diagnosed and on any medications. At the end of the day, I never wanted to fear my brother and looking back, that must have broken his heart.
Here’s the thing, Adam was a 6’2 cutie and found himself a cute little girlfriend, Maya. As much as he cared for her, he was too afraid that sharing his secret with her would take her away from him. She was put into the group of people who were never to learn his secret.
My mom told me something once, right after my dad left. You lose your secrets when you let people get too close. That was the was the scariest thing for her when she started dating. – Adam
I want to keep Maya far enough away so she won’t ever have to see me as I actually am. I don’t want to lose my secrets, because they keep me safe. – Adam
Getting into Adam’s head was the best and worse part of the book. It was the best because you really start to see and understand things from the perspective of a schizophrenic person. You understand how difficult it is for them to live day to day with noise and people in their heads. You see how hard of a struggle it is and to a certain degree understand why so many choose to take their own life.
…for a while I thought about it because death seemed peaceful. More importantly, it seemed quiet. I crave quiet. You have no idea how much time I spend trying to block out the noise in my head. – Adam
Crazy enough, it’s the best part of the book that makes it the worst part as well. It shows you how ignorant one might be. It made me ashamed of myself when it came to my brother. It made me feel like I could have done more to be there for him, shit even now.
Even when Adam was with Maya, the voices and people in his head never went away. It was heartbreakingly beautiful reading how had it was for him just to have a normal conversation with his girlfriend while there is a mob shoot-out going on in the corner.
When the medicine is no longer available, what becomes of Adam? Shit, what becomes of most of our mentally ill? Most of us don’t care enough to see they need help, a friend, someone consistent. Luckily, Adam had a good support system and family who cared enough to help.
This book will make you question your personal role in the state of the mentally ill. I loved it.
Do I recommend this book? Yes, I do.
Will I read another book by this author? Sure, I don’t see why not.
I kept it pretty here so it’s time for me to close it up.
TTYL, lovers. . .
Stalk all things messy…