Pat Peoples has just been released from a neural health clinic (a.k.a. the bad place) after a couple of month of inpatient treatment. Or was it a couple of years?? No, that couldn’t have been but for some reason people are telling him that. Well regardless, he is out and and ready to make himself better.
This is Pat’s mission statement as he works out to build up the muscle mass and attends his court mandated out patient therapy. He searches for the silver lining in his life and practices being kind rather than right and making himself the physical ideal of masculinity. He dutifully attends therapy and swallows as many pills as he deems appropriate, all toward the goal of attaining the ending to his life’s movie that involves a tearful reunion with his estranged wife Nikki, thus ending the apart time.
The truth is (and know that I do not mean this in any kind of derogatory fashion) Pat is delusional. He was committed for and still suffering from an unnamed mental health issue after a mysterious incident in his past that he can’t remember. He actually can’t remember much, including the reason for the separation from his wife, the amount of time he spent in the healthcare facility, or why the ghost of goddamned Kenny G won’t leave him alone. He intensively for ten hours a day, hums whenever you say something triggering , can’t make a living for himself, and in general cannot cope with reality.
While this may sound like an incredibly negative portrayal of people with mental health issues, the fact of the matter is that it is more real than most other images of it that I’ve seen/read. As dishonest as Pat is with himself, the book itself doesn’t pull any punches. It portrays the strain intense mental disorders can put on a family and how people treat other people with mental disorders without a sugary coating.
There are a few flaws in the book. Many of the things his counselor says are problematic. It is very hospitalization negative without much context, which is surprising in a book that is pro-medication. And finally, infantilization of Pat is almost never addressed and never resolved.
Of course, nothing is perfect but this is a damn good book despite this fact. I’ll give it a solid 7 out of 10. Please enjoy it if you’re looking for a book about mental health issues and controversy.