From Agoraphobia to Zen is one of those books that you can't put down and I'm sure it will bring hope to other sufferers of agoraphobia. It shows how this terrible illness can be overcome and that there is life after mental illness. It is a very candid and thought provoking memoir and tells of a remarkable recovery journey. I like the way the authors past is echoed throughout the pages and I found the accounts from her Mother's diary very moving. This book shows how this taboo illness can effect families and It also goes a long way into removing the stigma which is often attached to mental health problems. As a sufferer I found this book very easy to relate to and found I could emphasise well with the author. I also feel that this book will give a good insight into an illness that is so often misunderstood.
This is a stunning debut from a new writer who knows what life is about and knows even better how to write about it. It's poignant, often very moving and very, very funny. Essentially it's an autobiography but there are reflections of wisdom, philosophy and truth that punctuate the prose to make it much more than that.
She describes growing up in New York as if she was writing the soundtrack to Sex and the City - only this is Brooklyn in the fifties and sixties. This is such a vivid picture of the gangs, the girls, the sex, the music, the streets, the fear - you can literally taste and smell it.
She captures beautifully the drama of what's going on inside a young girl's head while at the same time the backdrop of unreality she describes could be a scene from a Hitchcock thriller or at the other extreme a cosy moment from Miracle on 34th Street (the original).
But the real gift of her writing is the nimbleness with which she deals with scenes from her life that are sad, violent and tragic. Never does she indulge in self pity or sentimentality. On the contrary, she writes with such a vivid and authentic narrative that there is never any fatigue and the pace is as elegant as a Meringue dancer straight out of one of her Brooklyn Puerto Rico nightclubs.
Above all, this book is very, very funny - achieving so much humour to deliver such content is a towering achievement for any writer.
But one final warning - I have missed my tube and bus stops more times than I can remember since reading this book - so be prepared to lose yourself!
Poignancy of life. Insightful, intriguing and colourful. This lady lays her soul bare for others and includes personal accomplishments over travisties. The book is a brilliant autobiography detailed with photos, proverbs and the inclusion of memoirs. It brings to light the issues of mental illness and how it is silenced. Descriptive and playful whilst truthful and heart rendering. However not overbearing and displays powerful reckoning with oneself. Proof that what does not kill you makes you stronger. I want a sequel!