I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Monday, December 05, 2011

THE IDIOT, I Was a Lunatic from a Geordie Grangetown by David Poulter

Genre: Memoir
Rating: Very Good
ISBN9781849912105, $18,00, 118 pp.

Quoting from the back cover:

“ “This world that you inhabit is really only your own mind. That is where you truly reside. And everyday you make decisions that affect your life. I give you an account of mine.”

“This strange and thought-provoking story is about a man who experiences a traumatic event in his childhood and then later develops a peculiar condition in his thirties. His experiences and ‘delusions’ lead him to think that he may have discovered a great secret that concerns all of humanity. Is he sane? And is the world crazy? Here is a conundrum that you can decide for yourself.”

The Idiot is a very unusual story/memoir. It is well written and well edited and most unique. You never really know where the author will take you next. There are elements of truth woven deeply through the fabric of Poulter’s trials and tribulations, and you sense real honesty here.

Allow me to share a section of his writing with you from page 115.

“There are many forms of the truth, we each have our own version and sometimes with hindsight and experience that may change as well. I understand now that perhaps I was just as delusional and paranoid before the onset of the schizophrenia. There tends to be a before and after syndrome with a disorder like this, yet I am essentially the same person. And like anyone who is honest with themselves I can look back and see the past for what it truly was. Maybe this condition has even given me an advantage. The garden was indeed an expression of myself, but no more than that, a book, or a painting, an experiment, an idea. A love no doubt, but also an excuse, a distraction, occasionally a lie and sometimes a failure.

“The land was certainly bewitching. I’m still haunted by its beauty, but even so this obsession translated into disregard for other matters. The upbringing of the children and their welfare were equal to my care for chickens and ducks, my wife was no more than an old horse put out to grass. I have nothing to say on these issues, I have no long descriptions of events or character assessments, conversations or otherwise. This document is about me and my life, how I acted and how I choose not to get involved anymore. Attaching oneself to people out of habit and insecurity is a stupidity. Whether karma exists or not I look back on the past and know for certain my arrogance, mistakes and fantasied led to others’ downfalls and unhappiness. I know now I am not normal, I am certain I have brain damage and the usual emotional responses are lacking. I am a vacuum and was before, perhaps the emotional center of my brain simply does not function properly. I don’t know and I will never find out the truth and I don’t care. I watch out for myself and my strange new companion. I tend to live in the moment, my mind picking up visual info, sensations and the voices. I keep in touch with my father now, he is over eighty and keen to talk on the phone. I have no hatred or malice for him. What I was told I choose to overlook, maybe it was an accident, perhaps it was congenital. With madness it is hard to trust any feelings.”

It is the honesty and quality of writing that make The Idiot a unique book worth reading. Highly recommended.

Kaye Trout 12/5/2011