We Are Monsters by Brian Kirk
In We Are Monsters, Brian Kirk’s debut novel, Dr. Alex Drexler believes he has developed a cure for schizophrenia, but after numerous failed trials, he has begun to give up until his brother Jerry shows signs of having the illness. Alex gives Jerry the medicine and he’s cured, isn’t he?
As Alex struggles to cure this debilitating mental illness, he’s working hard to become the new Chief Medical Director at Sugar Hill Mental Asylum, a position he’s next in line for. The problem is that he has to inherit the position from his friend and mentor, Dr. Eli Alpert.
For a debut novel, We Are Monsters is excellent. Kirk doesn’t shy away from describing just how horrible mental illness can be. Parts of this book are shocking and scary and you can clearly feel the internal struggles of each of the characters. Alex has to find acceptance from his father and Angela has to come to terms with what happened to her as a kid. Eli deals with the loss of the love of his life and it becomes easy to see that good people often do bad things. It’s not long before you come to realize that Alex’s motivation isn’t always good, which adds a whole new dimension to his story.
As you read We Are Monsters, you see how hard it is to tell the difference between reality and what goes on in a sick person’s imagination. Each layer of this story is expertly crafted, however, at certain points in the story it might become a little confusing as you try to separate reality from fantasy.
Despite this, We Are Monsters is a multi-layered, unique look at mental illness, pharmaceuticals, and human emotion. The characters are well fleshed out and developed. Parts of the story are heartbreaking; parts will make you angry, and the whole story will have you examining the human race as never before. It is a tightly woven tale from an author who has a heart, and that makes me excited to see what else Kirk has in store for us.
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