Monday, May 23, 2011

Entangled in Darkness

Entangled in Darkness
By:  Lindsey Webster
ISBN: 978-1600473487
Published September 11, 2009 by Wasteland Press
Available Format:  Paperback, ebook

My Rating:  ★★★☆☆

Annalyn Johanssen was moving out from home with her best friend and starting university for the first time. It was supposed to be an exciting time in her life. She saw herself as being on the road to success and hoped to one day obtain a PhD and start a prestigious career. University was just the first step in a long and happy life of success. As much as she hoped to get away from the unhappiness of her adolescence, she soon found herself spiraling into darkness.

Lindsey Webster graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and endeavored to get another degree in psychiatric nursing in accordance with her passion for mental health and for the darker side of life that encompasses mental illness, disorder, abuse, trauma, and anything else that challenges the soul. Her writing explores this world and has been inspired by her own struggles with darkness, disorder, and chaos. Her other passions include writing poetry and editing for the literary magazine Cerulean Rain. She lives with her many pets in British Columbia, Canada and continues her work in psychiatric nursing.

I was a lucky winner of Entangled in Darkness in a Library Thing giveaway.

This might be one of the most personal reviews I write.  When I learned that this book dealt with a psychological disorder, I was certainly interested since I also hold a BA in Psychology and plan to work in the mental health field.  Much of my life, I personally have dealt with depression and anxiety, partially inherited from my father—another similarity with this read. 

As I read through the first third of Entangled in Darkness, I was immediately wrapped up in the intensity and darkness of Annalyn’s story.  It brought up a lot of personal memories and feelings for me.  My life certainly wasn’t exactly like hers, but I could definitely identify with her helpless spiral into depression.  That first night, I slept horribly because of the nightmares that the memories had brought on.  The following day, I was in a total funk both from exhaustion and all the thoughts that were crowding my head.  I actually had to take a break from the book to catch my breath. 

When I continued, Annalyn was moving into the more manic stage of her disorder and starting to realize something more was going on.  I identified less with her from this point, but I was no less enraptured with her life.  Her relationship with her father was striking for me.  Again, it was not exactly the same, but there were many similarities between their relationship and my own with my father. 

Overall, I really liked this book.  Lindsey absolutely knows about the darker side of mental illness—the side that often stays hidden within the person’s own mind.  She describes this perfectly through Annalyn’s experiences and thoughts.  The effect that it can have on family and friends is also flawlessly portrayed through her story.  

My only issue with the book is that sometimes the actual writing became a little repetitive, and there were several technical things that could have used a little cleaning up.  I read the Kindle version, so the paperback might be somewhat different.   Without all that, I probably would bump my rating up to 4-stars, because the actual story is very interesting and enlightening.  As far as being emotionally moving, Entangled in Darkness could not have been any better in my opinion.  

I am curious now if Lindsey will continue the story or if she is just going to leave us hanging! :-)