I have always had a great love of reading and there have been many books which I have thought could be in my top five (picking one favourite is impossible). Today I am doing a literary red carpet Who Whore it Best Wednesday of one of those top five: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Joanne Greenberg.
I first found this book during a University Psychology course devoted entirely to Mental Health. It was one of my favourite classes and professors partly due to this book. The assignment was to read a book about mental health, cover it in an essay as well as write about how the book connected to your own personal mental health.
I remember asking the professor about this books she offered to loan out to a student if they were interested in reading it. She gave it to me and by the end of the evening I had read the entire thing.
When the papers were handed back I found out via the professors in front of the class that only one person had “gotten” what the assignment was about: me. She had asked me after class if I wouldn’t mind reading my paper to the others. For the sake of the assignment and how much the book meant to me I did it. It was one of the best decisions I had made.
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden follows three years in the life of a sixteen year old girl who is battling the world she created in her head. It is no longer safe for her there and she has to figure out, in a mental institution not only if she is strong enough to survive, but how to survive.
Our first cover is brought to us by Holt and says it was first published in 1964. When I look at this cover I think of being asked to draw what you think of when you look at yourself. I remember having to do a project similar in art class. I love the two halves and how they represent the two worlds she is inhabiting.
The second cover is brought to us by St. Martin’s Paperbacks (2008) and is the current edition for purchase on most websites selling the book. I love the blurred rose petals falling in front of a representation of the main character. There is something about the way the cover captures her eyes which really speaks to me.
WHO WORE IT BETTER????
The Holt edition! There is something about the drawing and how one side depicts colour and the other simply black and white. Having read the book A LOT I wonder which side represents which world in the eye of the cover artist? I might think the world in her mind might be the colour version for it depicted a beautiful turned dangerous place, while the black and white version might be how society views people with mental health issues.
This is an amazingly heartbreaking read. I can not emphasize enough how it altered my own life and perception of my own mental health struggles. I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone to asks me for a recommendation.
Now that this post has come to a close I feel like I am letting my breath out. I hope to find you well and enjoying March wherever you might be. Goodbye for now literary lovelies!
Postscript: What is the first book that comes to mind when I ask the read which altered you the most?