Michael couldn’t understand the nightmares that made him violent on waking, mostly because he didn’t have the courage to think his problem through. Eventually, pressured into entering a mental hospital by his employers he thought that here he would find answers and a way to a better life. He was never more wrong.
Being traditional, or perhaps just a grumpy, behind the times book reader, when I have the opportunity to read a book that is not of the paper variety, I always worry that I won’t be able to do the work justice, as skim reading is almost automatic with me when screens are involved.
It is lucky therefore that D.W. Carver’s Nightmares and Other Therapy is an enjoyable read…is enjoyable the right term for a book that delves into the world of mental health?
Perhaps not, more accurately I was intrigued by this new perspective on what is at best a very misunderstood area of life for a lot of people. The author has a grounding in this though having worked as a mental health community counsellor, which allows the reader to put trust in the accuracy of the thoughts and acts that take place throughout.
I started this early one morning (5AM for those completists) and was surprised to find out I had serenely glided through 58 pages without even glancing up. It was more than just appreciating the story, I felt quite compelled to carry on, I would say this is partly down to the writing style being light enough to read but deep enough to make you think, as well as the story itself which gets going straight away and gives enough necessary exposition without it getting in the way, so making for a smooth transition from introducing a story to moving it along at pace..
Michael’s internal strife is fascinating, the examination of human nature, complexity and self-examination we all go through, most of us to a less extreme extent than Michael, the strangeness of human thoughts, how we view each other and how we think in general, all come together to make this a book to dwell upon long after finishing it.
The plot simmers nicely with tension, the bad guys have a looming presence and are as equally downright horrible and distasteful as anything Stephen king has created, with language to match. It is only fair to mention there is a lot of crude language throughout, adding to the down to earth and gritty atmosphere the book portrays, overarching this is the dilapidated and worrying attitude of the lack of care in a system that should be supporting these people and for which – on a more petty level – we pay for so expect some sort of standard.
How would I classify this work…probably as a psychological thriller grounded in a grim reality as opposed to over the top, gratuitous storytelling that some would have used as direction. There is no glamorizing either, the bad guys are menacing and sadistic but never become to over the top, the locations feel sparse and stripped down yet comfortably descriptive in the details.
Whilst I enjoyed the book and would have read it quicker time permitting, there are elements that may not be pleasing to everyone. I would say if you are after a book that pulls no punches and is honest no matter where that leads then you will appreciate this. For those of you who downright refuse to read gutter language and explicit stuff in general, probably best you steer clear of this. For the rest of you, if you fancy giving this a whirl, you can pick it up on Amazon.co.uk or .com