Review: Detention Land by Susan Orion

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Mental health has been a topic that I’ve wanted to write about on my blog. As a medical student who is passionate about the issue, I am thrilled then I was sent the e-book  Detention Land by Susan Orion. I knew this was my opportunity to weave in the two elements and make a unique post.

Synopsis:

Roger is stuck in detention and the only way to escape is by uncovering a deep dark secret about himself and the people around him. Before he knows it, his once “Ivy League” world becomes relegated to a small dark space, where the only human interaction he has is with the voice of a mysterious woman who talks to him from behind the wall. Can Roger escape? This is Detention Land.

Disclaimer: I was sent this e-book in exchange for an honest review.

Detention Land was an unique read. Although it’s unlike any other book that I would usually pick up, I personally find the writing style insightful and ‘free’ – which I thoroughly enjoyed. It took me a while to get used to it initially, and I was caught in life’s side of things so I had to put the book down for a while and finished it later than expected.

The book is about a boy named Roger with a mental illness. It has a slight disorienting start, so I did not know what to expect from the plot. There are humorous lines and journal entries narrated by Roger himself, some are actually quite dark and I’m surprised how well the author handled such ‘sticky’ themes such as sanity/ insanity, anger and savagery. The the uses of flashbacks however, did not work for me as I had difficulty differentiating reality, past and delusion.

As a student who wants to pursue a career as a psychiatrist, I came to the realisation that people with mental illnesses like Roger do not think they are different – in their mind, in their dimension – they brand themselves as normal, while the others who are deemed by society who are normal, are in fact not normal. I think this book made this point really clear. I was able to feel from the book on how frustrated it is when no one understands how you feel and no one cannot help with the slightest. It is heartbreaking to feel hopeless and helpless. Even I sometimes feel that way – and hey! It’s completely okay to talk about it!

Here are some lines that made me think deep for a while – wow, just wow:

“Why don’t you just give up on your dreams of being a great scientist? Why don’t you just try to be normal? Try to fit in? Why don’t you just try? There is nothing wrong with being average. Not everyone is going to be great.”

“It’s not abandonment if someone wants to be left alone.”

And having said that, I am afraid to say that this book was not my cup of tea. It makes me a bit restless, to see someone who clearly needs medical attention, but unfortunately is still struggling with his problems. It made me uncomfortable at times. But again, these are just my personal thoughts. I also think I would appreciate this book a bit more if the expression was more clear, less awkward and the little grammatical and spelling errors were fixed.

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️

Thank you for reading this! It’s the first time I’ve posted something like this. Let me know what you think.

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