Book Report for I Never Promised You A Rose Garden.
I Never Promised You A Rose Garden, by Joanne Greenberg, is a partly autobiographical book about a young girl named Deborah. Deborah is lost in the complicated world of schizophrenia. The book offers the reader some ideas about schizophrenia that may help vanish prejudices held against mental illness.
Greenberg based Deborah Blau's character on her own life experiences as being a young, Jewish-American schizophrenic. Greenberg has fought to help people see past physical and mental handicaps throughout her life, and I Never Promised You A Rose Garden is just one more representation of that desire.
Deborah Blau is growing up in the 1960's. At an early age she suffers incontinence which is later realized to be caused by a tumor. Soon after a shameful operation to remove the tumor, Deborah creates the Kingdom of Yr, an imaginary reality inside her head that often controls her very being. She has created this kingdom to escape the earthly world where she is constantly told that nothing is wrong with her, when in fact she feels in her gut that there is.
Eventually, after a suicide attempt, Deborah is sent to a mental hospital where she is to get through the perils of schizophrenia and to overcome her Kingdom of Yr. Deborah's 3-year span at the hospital offers the reader a very real look at the reality of mental illness, while also showing the family's" conflict with the illness. The family's conflict is shown through Esther and Jacob, who are Deborah's parents. Esther and Jacob experience a conflict between love for Deborah and shame of her illness, yet they somehow find the strength to send her to the hospital and get treated by Dr. Fried.
Dr. Clara Fried proves to be a brilliant and much empathetic doctor who helps Deborah while also comforting her parents. Dr. Fried's approach to treating Deborah gains the patient's trust and prompts her to share the Kingdom of Yr with her.