Book Reviews of My Brother’s Journey

My dearest blogging granny of all times, is the first person to send in a review of My latest release. I was so excited to receive same, and I share with you. I hope many of us download the free kindle for this weekend, and find it in them to do a review sometime. Book Cover CS Thank you Granny, I love you too so much and hope to come see you someday. I lovingly deny I was the most able sibling, I just tried to be a loving sibbling just like my other two sisters.

” My Brother’s Journey from Genius to Simpleton, is a deeply moving, sensitively written account of one family’s struggle with a sick son. To compound matters, it took a long time before the correct diagnosis was given. Marie Abanga describes  her brother Gabriel’s deterioration into a deep depression and how her family battled to cope with the destruction of their once happy family caused by mental illness, without their father’s support. Marie seemed to be the most able sibling to give her brother the support he so badly needed and she gave of her time selflessly an endlessly.

This book was a hard read because mental illness and the subsequent death of the patient are such difficult subjects to deal with. I put myself in the family’s shoes while reading it. I discovered that many fathers are unable to handle mental illness when it affects their immediate families, and find solace elsewhere even though marriages seldom run smoothly. In the case of mental illness, families need the strength of fathers and mothers combined, more than ever.

In addition to endless other problems, Gabriel’s family had to somehow handle the stigma accorded mental illness. Marie’s dream is that one day, there will be no blame, shame and stigma associated with mental illness. And, that is exactly the way I feel and the reason I started blogging about mental illness. If we all speak out, there will be no more stigma.

In the midst of all this upheaval and upset, Marie continued to love her brother. I recommend this book to families with similar problems as well as to professionals working in the field of mental health.”

Jill Sadowsky

Author of David’s Story

Blogger at:-

And what do I say, feel or do when I wake up to comments like this?

” AYO,indeed,the subject matter of your novel emanates from the death of your beloved brother,yet the THEME you have handled is Universal and truly controversial at the same time.The issues raised keep haunting us on a daily basis and at different rungs of the society.A subject matter that many would avoid to discuss and may be scared to talk about but which demands the tack,skills,courage and determination of your type to handle.There is the pressing need for every individual,the world at large to turn attention to the most burning issues raised in this MUST READ NOVEL. Comments by ALEMJI SAMUEL ATABONG, Buea,Cameroon.” GM of ANUCAM Publishing.


Bonanza weekend: Get your free kindle apps and download

Two books free on kindle for four good days!!!
Two books free on kindle for four good days!!!

Dear all,

Today is two days away from the end of October, a month that has seen me grieve my brother as intense as my spirit led me. This month saw me blog ferociously both here and via comments on others’ blogs. I am honoured that I was asked by Judy of the recall centre to blog on the ‘sensitive’ topic of medecines.

This month for me was Mental Health Awareness month; both in words and in challenges too. I am going through another difficult period of my life but I trust and have faith that all will work out Amen!!!

When are we gonna have the autopsy results?
May his perilous journey be read in all the ends of the earth

To share my brother’s journey with you all, especially my ‘shaggy’ friends out there who may not even have money for their ‘meds’ not to talk of buy a book, I scheduled a free book promotion. It will run from Thursday the 30th to Sunday the 2nd of November.

From my heart, through my pen, to these pages
From my heart, through my pen, to these pages

I also thought of doing a free promotion of my own thriller of a memoir. These two works of mine are therefore free to download on amazon kindle on those days. Kindle apps are equally free out there, so if you really want to read my works, all you need do is click.

I really wish us all the best and look forward to the month of November.

Thank you very much
Thank you very much

I hope many of you find it to join me from this evening from 9.30 -11 pm Brussels time, as I launch my Brother’s Journey on his facebook page : My Brother’s Journey from Genius to Simpleton

The Last Supper – the last meal!!!

Stage one of his journey - the day he talked of the last supper
Stage one of his journey – the day he talked of the last supper

One day, after our parents had split, we were at mum’s about to eat before returning to what we called ‘limbo’. Yes, that is what our father’s house had become to us especially since he got married to this other woman who wouldn’t let us touch ‘her things’ (fridge, pans, spoons, just name it).  It was then during that meal, a sumptuous one of different dishes, that my brother coined the term ‘last supper’.

On that particular day, a Saturday which I very well remember, the fun was that it wasn’t even in the evening. We had just returned from some shopping and I had insisted we go into a photo studio and take the above picture. We had our ‘last supper’ and returned to ‘limbo’ with some more foodstuffs which I would cook on the stove we had in our room.

Our meals in ‘limbo’ very often consisted of rice and whatever. There is no doubt I think that rice up to this date is my favorite dish , just like he wrote in his journal it was his. In short, I must have his rice cooker whatever it takes.

And so, each time we were having a delicious meal, we would joke that it is our ‘last supper’.

Yes, and sadly so, when my brother started living and toiling on his own, his cooking abilities were eventually limited to doing rice in his cooker and mixing ketchup and water in a large sauce pan. He would eat only that day in day out, as many times a day as the side effects of his meds urged him to appease ‘hunger’.

Mum got him to send her a picture of what he was going to have for supper on the eve of his death. She had been there recently and did cook lots of stuff and leave with him. He had maybe eaten all by then and so this is the picture he sent her:

What more do I say about this?
What more do I say about this?

My Brother the Bagger

Gaby the Bagger with his lunchbox
Gaby the Bagger with his lunchbox

Yes, life really has twists and turns!!!

When I first saw this picture, I didn’t know the expression that could very well show the emotions waging up inside me just then. Whose brother was now going around with a lunch box and an apron? Whose brother was now reduced to arranging shopping bags and carts when he had in form one of college been brought in to lecture form five students? Someone tell me whose brother was this, not in any real way related to the one who had taught us all maths, physics, chemistry …

I narrate this period of his life in the stage four of his journey as chronicled.

This is part of what mum wrote in her tribute to her dearest son :

Gabriel worked with Market Basket as a “bagger” for about one year but the depth of the blow on his self-esteem got him to quit. He was aware that his performance was deeply below his potential…

As I narrate in that book, here are some recollections of that period:

When he was a bagger, he would complain to me about someone pushing his jacket on the rack, surely out of jealousy he claimed, and the proof was that he now found his precious jacket on the floor.

He told me about a colleague who despised him and about his card which refused to be properly punched just so that he could be signed in as late. His boss was a nice man but he was suspicious of the later whom he thought wanted to demean him further.

He was getting tired with carrying a lunch box to work each day as if he were in primary school. That Lunch box finally found its way to me and oh how I treasured it…

To make matters worse, it was like we were going to really loose him after all. There was decreasing hope in the ‘system’ out there in which he was now entrapped ‘thanks’ to some ‘lottery’ of a win. Mum and us all were frustrated. She couldn’t manage her son’s treatment and even his legal proxy was eventually to be grossly ignored by his ‘medical team’.

His life to me had all but been reduced to call my meds. How could he even manage to keep a job for about one year with those meds and their side effects? Sure his situation deteriorated and soon I heard he was now a ‘criminal’, going around in scrubs and handcuffs. Wow, he became a number at that so called Bridgewater State Hospital.

Dear gentle readers and followers, I really believe mum’s prayers were not in vain. For Gabriel to try so hard to lean in there inspite the barely recognizable young man he’d become? He himself had such strong faith and sang his hymns and praises to his God with all his might. I think that ‘almighty system’ is not in any haste to release his autopsy results because well, he’s just another figure to add or substract now.

I sincerely wish my brother’s soul and the souls of all those like him; consumed and lost to mental illness and ‘shabby systems’, to RIP!!!

For the Paperback
For the Paperback

Mental Illness Awareness

A short and concise poem on Mental Illness Awareness.

Poetry On A Roll

People treat mental illness like a slap on the wrist.
They think nothing is wrong,
that it must be some kind of trick
or something simple that can be explained away.
If only, it was really simple and a quick fix.
They don’t understand there’s a technical glitch,
a serious disease of the mind.
It’s not to be taken lightly.

written by: Kimalee Jones

View original post

Book Review: Shadows in the Sun by Gayathri Ramprasad

Shadows in the Sun


I am taking a break once more from writing reviews about lives we end up losing. I just realized for over two months, all of my book reviews have a sad ending. Not that the tales in themselves were not pale and full of pain anyway. Look at Nick Traina, Paul Sharples, Debbie, Gabriel, David, weren’t their tales all but that?

But today, I get back to what I call breakthrough tales. Tales of those who somehow made it through their ‘madness’, to get to share their journeys with us. I admire Sebastien Aiden Daniels who keep it up over at Personal Growth for Life. I want to write today about another phenomenal woman I very much look forward to meeting someday.

Gayathri Ramprasad‘s impressive website is as captivating as it is simple to navigate.

The Book

As a young girl in Bangalore, Gayathri was surrounded by the fragrance of jasmine and flickering oil lamps, her family protected by Hindu gods and goddesses. But as she grew older, demons came forth from the dark corners of her fairytale-like kingdom—with the scariest creatures lurking within her.

The daughter of a respected Brahmin family, Gayathri began to feel different. “I can hardly eat, sleep, or think straight. The only thing I can do is cry unending tears.” Her parents insisted it was all in her head. Because traditional Hindu culture has no concept of depression as an illness, no doctor could diagnose and no medicine could heal her mysterious illness.

This beautifully written memoir traces Gayathri’s courageous thirty-year battle with the depression that consumed her from adolescence through marriage and a move to the United States. It was only after the birth of her first child, when her husband discovered her in the backyard “clawing the earth furiously with my bare hands, intent on digging a grave so that I could bury myself alive,” that she finally got the help she needed. After a stay in a psych ward she eventually found “the light within,” an emotional and spiritual awakening from the darkness of her tortured mind.

Gayathri’s inspiring story provides a first-of-its-kind cross-cultural lens to mental illness —how it is regarded in India and in America, and the way she drew on both her rich Hindu heritage and Western medicine to find healing.

My Musings on this

Once I read the book, I first let out a big wow.!!! I was like, how close could that be to you? Men, do people from India also have such tales? Ofcourse she was courageous to put it all out there and now dedicate herself so passionately to mental health Advocacy. It is needless for me to rate this book. A five is not enough because there is much more in there than I could ever muse about.  I just wish many more get a copy or attend one of her free webinars, use a resource or reach out.

Dear gentle readers and followers, as I wrote in my poem on the dark lining, it is possible to stay on top. It ain’t easy, no it ain’t – but it can!!!

Enter the Giveaway for my Brother’s Journey

My Brother's Journey from Genius to Simpleton by Marie A. Abanga
My Brother’s Journey from Genius to Simpleton: Battling with his mental illness and coping with his loss
by Marie A. Abanga (Goodreads Author)

Release date: Oct 08, 2014
I may frankly not know what to make of mental illness. I sometimes even wonder if I have the right to say I am also mentally ill, or just have some me…more
Giveaway dates: Oct 15 – Nov 15, 2014
2 copies available, 0 people requesting
Countries available: LS, LR, and UG more

read on goodreads

The Long Wait

Some light in there?
Some light in there?

As if waiting is not hard
I have to wait so long
Could it be mere malice?
or simple fabric?
Life is indeed one long wait
It all starts from within the womb
Sometimes 9 months isn’t all it takes
With each passing moment is an increased trepidation
to be or not to be
To wait or to wait no longer
good things they say comes to those who wait
I just wonder how long that wait should be
And yet it it only makes some logic
That we put in all our magic
We’d sure wanna wait for the good
But that wait musn’t be all that long!!!

Yeah well for how long???
Yeah well for how long???