I picked up a 1964 paperback copy of I Never Promised You a Rose Garden several years ago, quite by accident. Bored working in the security office on my college campus, I grabbed the book off the shelf to bide some time, and by the time I finished it, my world had been rocked. The main character, Deborah, is an extremely bright, extremely troubled 16 year old who is continuously thrown back and forth between reality and the dark, twisted, dangerously deceiving world in her mind, known as the Land of Ur. Every element of her story gripped me: from her relationship with the psychiatrist assigned to her case (and the doctor's real and gritty investment in Deborah's plight) to relationships with her fellow psych patients and her baffled, despairing parents. And, above all, the queer paradox of craving comfort and escape from reality, in an imaginary world set up solely to punish and humiliate her. With an ending that can only be described as...perfect, I can guarantee this is life-changing stuff here.
Deborah, suffering from schizophrenia, struggles to overcome her illness and rejoin the real world with the help of her hospital psychiatrist.