Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader and volunteers with the elderly playing her designed The Write Word Game. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.
Author: Pauline Hansen
Publisher: Plain Sight Publishing
“I feel that to be loyal to my husband, I have to keep his confidence. So I will tell no one. I talk to no one about The Game but my husband. I feel so alone,” Pauline Hansen writes in her book, Patchwork Reality: Happily Married to a Schizophrenic.
At one hundred and forty-four four pages, this paperback targets readers who are interested in autobiographies dealing with mental illness, especially if it involves schizophrenia. With minor slang and topics regarding the strange illness, this debut story would best be read by mature teenagers or adults.
In St. George, Utah, the Hansen household keeps many secrets, most of them revolving around Curtis, the father of five children who works at as a school custodian. Although author and wife, Pauline, was raised to believe her marital vows are for a lifetime, always to be submissive and never to question her husband’s decisions, her core values are tested over nine years.
When Curtis has an incredible dream insisting that his wife and he are contestants in The Game where they will be given millions by wealthy orchestrators, Pauline acquiesces to his needs and demands. As his actions and thoughts become more bizarre and paranoid, she conceals her true reactions as she continues to go along with the plan.
While she is too trusting, giving the benefit of the doubt to the man she loves, her husband is critical, fixated on others faults, and focused on keeping the couple together no matter who or what tries to supposedly separate them.
Lonely, Pauline befriends a man who has ulterior motives, jeopardizing the marriage. Meanwhile Curtis falls deeper and deeper into what his dreams mean as he hides in the school’s closet for hours, refuses to speak to his children due to the letter “M,” and avoids anything related to the number four or people who have certain hair color or look.
At a breaking point, the wife must stand up to Curtis’s donating their possessions, chopping up furniture, or obsession with The Game. In doing so, she becomes a stronger person who faces both her husband and her demons to keep their marriage together.
As readers learn about the angst, confusion, and loneliness a spouse experiences dealing with such a debilitating disease, the love between a man and wife becomes the strong bond that maintains sanity during the tragic situation.
Thanks to Cedar Fort, Inc. for furnishing this book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.
I would have liked to see a page of resources for readers who might need more information about paranoid schizophrenia.