I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg

I Never Promised You a Rose GardenJoanne Greenberg (originally as Hannah Green)ContemporaryHolt PaperbacksJanuary 6, 2009eBook288

The classic novel about a young woman’s struggle against madness, with a new afterword by the author.

Hailed by The New York Times as “convincing and emotionally gripping” upon its publication in 1964, Joanne Greenberg’s semi-autobiographical novel stands as a timeless and unforgettable portrayal of mental illness. Enveloped in the dark inner kingdom of her schizophrenia, sixteen-year-old Deborah is haunted by private tormentors that isolate her from the outside world. With the reluctant and fearful consent of her parents, she enters a mental hospital where she will spend the next three years battling to regain her sanity with the help of a gifted psychiatrist. As Deborah struggles toward the possibility of the “normal” life she and her family hope for, the reader is inexorably drawn into her private suffering and deep determination to confront her demons.

A modern classic, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden remains every bit as poignant, gripping, and relevant today as when it was first published.

I read this book on a whim five years ago, and I’m so glad I did. The story haunted me so much that it stayed with me in the forefront of my mind for two years.

The last year I was in middle school, I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey in class and loved it. Then, when I needed to pick a book to write a paper on that same year, I read Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen.

Then high school happened and now in my first year of college, I find myself returning to Greenberg’s semi-autobiographical story to write a paper for my Intro to Psych class.

​Having read those other two books in the interim, my understanding of the material has changed and grown. Even so, the experience of the book was just as powerful, if not more so, than my first reading. I recommend this book to everyone.

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