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I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (Signet) [Mass Market Paperback]

Joanne Greenberg
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Mar 1984 Signet
Deborah is a 16-year-old girl locked in torment within her own mind. The terrors, horrors and delusions facing Deborah as she battles with schizophrenia form the basis of this book. Doomed to the white world of the mental ward she struggles from madness to reality.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Frequently Bought Together

I Never Promised You a Rose Garden (Signet) + The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness + An Unquiet Mind: A memoir of moods and madness
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Reissue edition (Mar 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451160312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451160317
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.7 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,122,517 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Author

There is no creativity in madness.
I wrote this book as a way of describing mental illness without the romanticisation that it underwent in the sixties and seventies when people were Taking LSD to stimulate what they thought was a liberating experience. During those days people often confused creativity with insanity. There is no creativity in madness; madness is the opposite of creativity, although people may be creative in spite of being mentally ill. I also wanted to steer away from melodrama, and to deal with the stigma of mental illness, but not to concentrate on it.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, haunting novel 13 Aug 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A beautifully written, haunting account of a young girl's confinement in a mental institution and her struggle to overcome mental illness, presumably schizophrenia. Written in the early 1960's, the book is terribly archaic in its understanding of schizophrenia, but Greenburg's prose is so bewitching and her protagonist so fascinating, that it is easy to forgive some of her misconceptions about mental illness. her construction of the main character's alternate reality is particularly brilliant, and i found the book more enjoyable when read almost as a fantasy rather than a medical case history. All in all, a powerful, albeit occasionally tedious, work of literature.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. A classic. I couldn�t put it down. 24 May 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Rarely does there come a book that transcends genre, time, and cultural barriers speaking directly to the human heart. This is one of those rare books. Rather than showing the mysterious and foreign world of insanity I had expected, it reveals that the mentally ill struggle with the same needs and battles as we all do: The need for love and acceptance, the power of undiluted truth, and of undeserved kindness and forgiveness. Comparable to victor Hugo's Les Misérables this book is not merely about a certain minority group, but about major life issues and struggles that touch us at the core of who we are, no matter what our background.
Insanity is a form of defense, a way of not seeing. Rather than offering an "alternate reality", it creates a wall that keeps out hurt, but also keeps out the love that we all need. I couldn't help but see the similarity between the hiding from life of the insane, and the hiding from life of the polite, trivial, distraction-obsessed, non-introspective world of the "normal". To live in reality is a fight for us both. It is tempting to take the easy way out for both groups, and swallowing the lies of an easy struggle-free existence is tempting, but as the main character Deborah Blau says, "To be alive is to fight". This book made me glad to be alive. Read it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant. A classic. I couldn�t put it down. 24 May 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Rarely does there come a book that transcends genre, time, and cultural barriers speaking directly to the human heart. This is one of those rare books. Rather than showing the mysterious and foreign world of insanity I had expected, it reveals that the mentally ill struggle with the same needs and battles as we all do: The need for love and acceptance, the power of undiluted truth, and of undeserved kindness and forgiveness. Comparable to victor Hugo's Les Misérables this book is not merely about a certain minority group, but about major life issues and struggles that touch us at the core of who we are, no matter what our background.
Insanity is a form of defense, a way of not seeing. Rather than offering an "alternate reality", it creates a wall that keeps out hurt, but also keeps out the love that we all need. I couldn't help but see the similarity between the hiding from life of the insane, and the hiding from life of the polite, trivial, distraction-obsessed, non-introspective world of the "normal". To live in reality is a fight for us both. It is tempting to take the easy way out for both groups, and swallowing the lies of an easy struggle-free existence is tempting, but as the main character Deborah Blau says, "To be alive is to fight". This book made me glad to be alive. Read it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A look inside the darkest part of us all 21 July 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A compelling story that shows the gap that separates the mentally ill from the real world and the thread that binds them, and us, together. As one that feels the way Deborah does occasionally, it's satisfying to know that yes, you are normal, even if it is in abnormality. This book is for anyone that wants to understand others, and themselves.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Lola TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I found it hard to get into the book and to finish it (but I did).

Nevertheless, "I never promised you a rose garden" is a beautifully and evocatively written account of a young girl's stay in the asylum, and her struggle to overcome her demons, her mental illness (I specifically referred to "demons" as the world she imagines, the demonic universe of Yr, is haunting and disturbing and full of demons), and find a place within people, and in this world.

The book is a semi-autobiography of Joanne Greenberg, the author, and for many years was a bestseller in the States, and I can see why. Whilst the account of the mental illness might not be medically accurate, the language, the description, the narrative are all brilliant AND, what I loved, the story is full of sarcasm and self-humour, which makes the main heroine, Deborah, extremely likable. Just for the humour the book deserves another star. The structure of Deborah's alternate universe is mesmerising and absorbing, and I actually mentioned the book to the avid fantasy reader, because, in my opinion, one can easily enjoy the book as sci-fi, rather than a medical account.

I do not regret reading "I never promised you a rose garden", but I will be very careful in recommending this book. It's not for everybody. It's not for the majority.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I never promised you a rose garden 28 Oct 2011
By racs
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For anyone interested in mental health and present day treatments compared to 50/60 years ago, this is a fantastic eye-opener. Joanne Greenbergs description of her battle with mental health from an early age (although she fictionalises it) gives insight into both the cause, her treatment and her recovery. Her relationship with Dr Frieda Fromm-Reichman (her psychiatrist) is fundamental to her recovery as well as the support she receives from her family. Pity that most people suffering from psychotic episodes today are not treated in such a humanistic way. The book doesn't pull any punches about life on a psychiatric ward either.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I was worried this would seem dated but loved it and would recommend to anyone working with any mental health clients
Published 1 month ago by Rebecca Weir
5.0 out of 5 stars How mental illness can seem so logical.
This is quite an old book that I first read years ago. It left a great impression on me and made mental illness much more understandable.
Published 2 months ago by Aldebaran
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
fascinating read, most interesting from my reading list this module.
Published 2 months ago by Sam
4.0 out of 5 stars Mental health story
Moving story.
Published 2 months ago by FatManInBathtub
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book wich gets into the mind of a suffering ...
Fabulous book wich gets into the mind of a suffering girl and depicts clearly how a therapist can help, the legth of time, acceptance, lack of judgement, honesty and skill needed. Read more
Published 2 months ago by india whitehouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One to keep.
Published 3 months ago by Jacen Hedges
1.0 out of 5 stars Could not get on with this book
A friend gave me this book to borrow - as we work in a counselling setting, she thought that it may interest me. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Brida
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic look at Schizophrenia, treatments and how it affects the...
It took me quite a while to tackle this book - the first memoir of schizophrenia that I have tried. It took a little getting used to, as it absorbs you straight into the world of... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Amanda Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the world of Yr
A MUST READ! Definately one for the collection ...

When the doctor says "I never promised you a rose garden", you realise this isn't going to be easy!! Read more
Published on 7 Sep 2012 by S. Johnson
2.0 out of 5 stars Uncertain and fantastical
I am uncertain about this book. In some aspects, I did enjoy it and found parts of it interesting - the author certainly made some good points surrounding the morals and stigma... Read more
Published on 17 Oct 2011 by Stepping Out of the Page
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