Suzie has struggled most of her life with hallucinations and hearing voices. Often the voices are convincing her to hurt herself or others. When she’s twenty, she’s diagnosed with schizophrenia. At first, the diagnosis seems to be a good thing, but Suzie distrusts her doctors and loved ones who want her to take medication to alleviate her symptoms. She turns to alcohol and drugs to quiet the voices instead, which in turn leads to a downward spiral, causing her to ditch college and run away.
Suzie eventually finds herself on the streets of Las Vegas, where she is taken in by Wonderman, the leader of the Mole People, who live in the flood tunnels underneath the city. The mole people all have their own stories of how they came to be underground. People like Judy, who was once a Grammy-nominated singer, but found herself addicted to drugs when Wonderman found her.
Suzie finds out quickly that there is a price to pay for his kindness and she’ll have to decide for herself if she’s willing to pay or if she can trust those who love her, the ones who have never given up on her.
This story is horrible, and I mean that in a very good way. It is a well-written story, with characters that will break your heart. The horrible part is that while this story is fiction, the struggles portrayed here of those with schizophrenia and drug addiction are entirely too real. It was hard to read this story, knowing people are really suffering. The things that the Mole People have to endure from each other, as well as being homeless, hungry and often drug addicted is tragic.
While I can’t speak from personal experience, it seemed like the author did a wonderful job portraying the thought life of someone with schizophrenia. I also thought he did a great job of describing what it’s like to love someone with that disorder. You can’t help feeling like you are going through both sides with the characters. If you enjoy emotional stories, full of interesting characters or are interested in the mental health field from the perspective of the patients and their families, then this story is for you.
Be aware there are many triggers in this book, such as self-harm and sexual abuse, which shouldn’t be surprising considering the content of the story. Overall, I recommend this book and the hope it gives that we can help others who are suffering from mental health issues, homelessness and drug addiction.