Monday 24 December 2018

Prisoners of War - Sarah Gracia - Prisoners of War Trilogy Book 1

Prisoners of War
Prisoners of War Trilogy Book 1
Sarah Gracia
Rivershore Books
ISBN 9781635220049
eISBN 9780463016138


I am sitting her and finding it very hard to know how to start this review. While reading this book there were some incredible moments, and at others I found myself wondering what was going on, and how is this all going to fit together. And yet by the time I finished the novel, I could not help but wonder what is going to happen next in the Prisoners of War Trilogy. I think this book might do for panic attacks and OCD what The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time did for Asperger Syndrome and Autism. The author states:

“It tells the story of my freshman year in high school (minus Matt and the kidnapping plot). There are some aspects that are unrealistic, but that's intentional. The whole book is my daydream in ninth grade when I had the six-month panic attack. The novel reflects the reality in a very tangible way.”

And there are some very surreal moments in the novel. In some ways reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland or even The Matrix. As you are reading you will wonder how far down the rabbit hole goes and is there a way out. But in order to find out you will need to read the book.

You cannot help but feel for Tara, the main character, and for Sarah the author and the struggle with OCD as described in the book. Early in the book this section really captured my attention:

“Prisoners of war, people who have been captured by the enemy.
I wonder if Adrian’s a prisoner of war since he was captured by those people. It’s not a war between countries, but trying to escape seems like his own personal war.
Am I a prisoner of war, too? I’m going to die with OCD with no hope of freedom. Could that be a war? A lot of people describe OCD as a hostage situation. I’m the prisoner; OCD the captor.
Maybe. Maybe we’re all prisoners of war of some kind . . .”

It is a penetrating insight especially considering the age at which the author wrote it. This book does not feel perfectly polished. But It is not suppose to. It is written to capture the nightmare of struggling with mental illness, and how someone who does suffer sees and feels about themselves. Also, how they feel others see and treat them. It was also written from dream, and as such does have that disjointed, often jumpy feel. But it is well done.  As such the book is not always an easy read, but it is worth the effort to finish, and I really do look forward to seeing what will happen in the next volume.

A great first effort by a young author trying to bring awareness through her own personal struggles. Well done.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2018 Catholic Reading Plan!

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