Monday, March 26, 2012

Life Is But a Dream by Brian James

Life Is But a Dream by Brian James.
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends.
Pages: 234.
Release Date: March 27, 2012.
Source: Publisher.
Sabrina, an artist, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her parents check her into the Wellness Center. There she meets Alec, who is convinced it's the world that's crazy, not the two of them. They are meant to be together; they are special. But when Alec starts to convince Sabrina that her treatment will wipe out everything that makes her creative, she worries that she'll lose hold of her dreams and herself. Should she listen to her doctor? Her decision may have fatal consequences.

Life Is But a Dream is extremely bizarre. But a really, really good kind of bizarre. I was simultaneously amazed and confused and weirded out and I kind of loved every minute of it.

The most powerful thing about this book, and probably the reason why I loved it as much as I did, was how subtle and eye-opening Sabrina's downfall is. When we're first introduced, she's this odd, naive girl who sees colors everywhere and draws fairies in her spare time. It's obvious that there's something off about her, but I wanted it to be okay. I hated that she was in a diagnosis center and I didn't think it was fair. And then Sabrina meets Alec, who convinces her to stop her treatments, and everything kind of spins out of control. I rooted for the characters to break off on their own, to prove to everyone that they were fine the way they are. But ... holy crap. I can't say too much for fear of spoiling something, but this book shocked me. Absolutely shocked me. Whirled me around and shut me up so fast.

Sabrina and Alec should clash. Sabrina is soft and innocent. Alec is loud and obnoxiously opinionated. There are so many things in this book that proves that they shouldn't be together, but I loved their relationship so much. I think that's another factor that contributed to my love for this book. Brian James took me so far out of my comfort zone that I was actually going against my gut instinct and rooting for something that felt so completely wrong.

And I loved the ending. This is a character driven novel, but it has the perfect amount of building intensity. And it builds and builds and builds until there's this explosive breakdown that had me on the edge of my seat. I was satisfied and happy with how things left off with Sabrina and Alec.

Overall, Life Is But a Dream was an unexpected hit for me. It's gorgeously written, powerful story with just the right balance of oddness and romance. Just like it did me, it will probably move you out of your comfort zone and challenge your sense of right and wrong, but I think that's the kind of experience every reader needs to have at some point. I definitely recommend!

Other reviews for Life Is But a Dream:
365 Days of Reading.
i swim for oceans.
Patricia's Particularity.


  1. I'm really excited to read this! Seems like an intense read! Thanks for the review! :)

  2. There's four words I have to say about this read here. I. Adored. This. Book. One of the best books I've read in a while. Anyway great review!

  3. THanks for the great review...I'm glad I could give you something outside your norm, and that you could still find comfort within it.

    Brian James

  4. I know what you mean about finding it unfair that Sabrina was in the treatment center as I felt that way in the beginning too. Maybe she viewed the world a little differently but maybe that's not bad. Then we see how James just blow that away with his powerful prose! I also really liked this one.