Saturday, August 25, 2018

Born Scared

Elliot is a young man whose life is defined by fear.  The circle of people he trusts is extremely small so his medical doctor makes house calls and has tried to find just the right medication to help keep most of Elliot's fears at least at a distance.  After two years of trying various medications, nothing has completely eliminated his anxiety. 

His mother teaches him at home and he rarely leaves the confines of his room. Besides his mother, an aunt is the only other person he trusts--at least that others can see. Elliot also keeps a running dialogue with his twin sister that died at birth, but that is the entirety of his existence.

Elliot's mother is always very careful about keeping his prescription filled as lapses in medication can be disastrous.  Elliot has a brand new bottle so he should be fine through the holidays. Except that when he opens the bottle, the pills look different and he realizes that he's been given the wrong medication. This unfortunately starts a series of events that force Elliot to face a multitude of fears head on.

The book is mostly told from Elliot's point of view and the filter of his skewed perceptions and fear. Readers experience first hand the consuming reality of fear in Elliot's life. Just when Elliot's imagined fears can't seem to get any worse, he stumbles across men intent upon hurting those he holds most dear. The parallel story line of the men is a little hard to follow with little explanation for what came before or after their involvement in the story.

Born Scared is an interesting tale that gives readers a glimpse into one young man's struggle with mental illness. The circumstances that Elliot faced would have scared the bravest among us and the picture of someone rising to a herculean challenge was inspirational. The book closes very quickly after the story's climax and readers are left wondering how Elliot will fare after his ordeal and whether justice will be served.  I do prefer a story that ties up at least the largest threads within a story, so I feel the ending sort of betrays the reader. To be held in agonizing suspense only to be left hanging in the end seems rather unfair.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of Born Scared from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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