Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: The Hospital Always Wins

Title: The Hospital Always Wins
Author: Issa Ibrahim 
Press: Chicago Press Review
Release Date: June 1st, 2016
Source: The publisher Chicago Press Review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars 

Mental illness has affected my life in many ways. My mother has schizophrenia so when I was this book was available for review I need to give it a chance. 

This book is perfect for the time. We are currently evaluating and fighting for change with the United States mental health services. This memoir is a sad and riveting tale that shows the devastating effects of the lack of mental illness services in this country. 

The memoir follows Issa Ibrahim life both before and after a horrible event that causes him to be admitted into New York's mental hospital. At the beginning of this story we are told about his lovely family, wonderful upbringing and unusual parenting skills of his family. The story get more tragic as the pages turn. 

About two years later, he writes about an addiction that he has. He uses justifications of not doing harder drugs and begins to exhibit signs of schizophrenia. He feels like there is a link between him using marijuana and his mental illness. I am unsure if this is the case and not sure how I feel about this. 

Ultimately he commits a horrible act and pleads insanity like many people do. He is determined to a mental hospital to carry out his sentence that frankly is borderline unfair in my opinion. The state of his conviction was rather ambiguous and open ended. They play around with him being able to be released. 

While I feel like he did take some responsibility for his behavior and actions. I feel like he plays the victim a bit much. There was a bit of a pitty party and sort of undermines people that have been diagnosed with mental illness. 

Thank you so much for sharing your story Issa Ibrahim. I was provided a free copy from Chicago Review Press for an honest and unbiased review. 

Goodreads Description: 

Issa Ibrahim’s memoir details in searing prose his development of severe mental illness leading to a horrific family tragedy, his acquittal by reason of insanity, and his subsequent commission to a mental hospital for nearly twenty years. 

Raised in an idyllic creative environment, mom and dad cultivating his talent, Issa watches his family’s descent into chaos in the drug-crazed late 1980s. Following his father’s death, Issa, grief-stricken and vulnerable, travels down a road that leads to psychosis—and to one of the most nightmarish scenarios conceivable.

Issa receives the insanity plea and is committed to an insane asylum with no release date. But that is only the beginning of his odyssey. Institutional and sexual sins cause further punishments, culminating in a heated legal battle for freedom. 

Written with great verve and immediacy, The Hospital Always Wins paints a detailed picture of a broken mental health system but also reveals the power of art, when nurtured in a benign environment, to provide a resource for recovery. Ultimately this is a story about survival and atonement through creativity and courage against almost insurmountable odds.

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