Review by AvidBibliophile -- There and Back There Again

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AvidBibliophile
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Review by AvidBibliophile -- There and Back There Again

Post by AvidBibliophile » 13 Sep 2019, 19:46

[Following is a volunteer review of "There and Back There Again" by Andrew Alsup.]
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1 out of 4 stars
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There and Back There Again by Andrew Alsup can best be described as a disorganized thought pattern manifesto of a deeply disturbed individual who feels betrayed by the Chipmunk voices in his head and the character assassination they maliciously inflict against him. It contains a litany of statements and phrases that allude to the typically disorganized thought pattern of a paranoid schizophrenic with narcissistic tendencies. Alsup speaks of experiencing immortality and resurrection firsthand. “They’ve threatened and tried to kill me countless times. I have died and come back countless times as well. As a matter of actual fact, I am experiencing daily harassment by somewhere near 300 identities at this point…” stated in reference to both the auditory hallucinations AND the realistic human individuals in his life who have knowingly involved themselves in his harassment.

The generalized point of this bound collection of thoughts seems to be the proposal of a new constitutional amendment, regarding an individual’s right to PRIVACY - free from intrusion of the “psychic criminal” variety. In Chapter 6, it suddenly starts reading like a polite legislative manual on the subtle and technical nuances of constitutional privacy law, before concluding with an actual GoFundMe link to monetarily support the dream of funding his miracle in the inclusion of a 28th amendment. After Chapter 13, the next titled Chapter is 21. Unclear why.

A Bonus Material section offers up some entries regarding haphazard biblical scriptures (with associated Wikipedia links), assorted poetry (some with no author noted), an exhaustive biography on Edgar Allen Poe (by another writer), and a lengthy excerpt about “The Raven” written in such an opposing style to Alsup’s that clearly credit is elsewhere due, but on a positive note, the profanity ceases entirely for 30 successive pages. The book then concludes with a brief mention of more religious scriptures, a note on porn appreciation, applied math (clearly copied in from a website, entire page is suddenly in a completely different font), four short stories about dogs, and a hint of Asperger’s.

Alsup seems accusatory, hostile, threatening, and unapproachable in this makeshift, autobiographical memoir. This style of writing is perceived as a sort of lengthy rant more commonly found in the dark recesses of a hostile chat room or community social media page. Occasionally “Andy” will start referring to himself in 3rd person, but not consistently. It is unclear what particular audience the author is directing these written thoughts toward… the reader, a psychiatrist, the voices? Directed speech patterns alternate between (you should ask yourselves, they’re attacking me, it says it got it all from you, these people, it won’t be me next time, it will be you, etc.) as the dialogue proceeds.

While the grammatical errors were not excessively numerous, they were sporadically frequent enough to stop taking note of each one individually. Sentence structure, inconsistent verb tense, and correct punctuation begins to matter less when the thought content as a whole lacks cohesive comprehension. There is one sentence regarding a 7 day trip to Seattle that runs on for two entire pages. There were at least 168 separate instances of profane language, with 20 examples alone appearing on a single page. The footnote accompanying the page numbers insinuates the book title to be (There, and Back to There) yet the book itself is titled something different.

Despite author statements like, “They freak out that I take time for spelling and grammar” this book was clearly not professionally edited, and I would question whether it was even proofread in its entirety by the author himself, before going to self-publication.

“I have never discussed factual psychic intrusion with anyone, and accomplishing this has been my singular focus.” Fair enough statement of direction and intent, but the inclusion of sentences like: “Let me be crystal, mind blowing clarity, diamond in the rough crystal clear with you f**k.” Not generally how you win over readers.

The following statement is repeated at least 6 separate times throughout the book: “Absolutely no one has talked to me about any of this at all. Ever.” It becomes a reiterated theme to a nauseating degree.

Inflated sense of self and lack of grasp on reality evident in descriptors like “I am able to function at an extremely high level. I never intended to take over the world, that just happened on its own… I am merciful and kind… I had the heart thing (atrial flutter), and then immediately started to have bipolar and other symptoms of brain damage. Those events are connected, and represent one of many assassination attempts.”

Directly contradictory statements confuse the reader. “I am untouchable. I remain unaffected. Always on top. Undefeatable. I will not hurt you, I will listen.” Quickly transitions to threats like: “You people are f~ed, and I’m coming for ya… I have a plan, stop f**k with me or I’ll turn you all into toads…” At one point in the book, some of the anger is even directed at “all living Presidents.”

What I disliked most is the nearly incomprehensible format of entries, but also the fact that Alsup single-handedly fans the flames of such an offensive atmosphere, laced with derogatory redundancies throughout that it is genuinely a struggle to keep reading it at all.

While anyone should be commended for their bravery to share personal struggles, and for a willingness to provide insight into what those with mental illness face, I give this book 1 out of 4 stars because in its current state, it is little more than a chaotic compendium of balderdash, and I feel very few people would benefit from attempting to decipher its meaning.

******
There and Back There Again
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Meg98
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Post by Meg98 » 15 Sep 2019, 21:51

This sounds like the author had an interesting idea for a theme but unfortunately did not have the execution. Perhaps another round of editing would be beneficial, and the chaos and haphazard writing to be fixed. Thanks for this great review!
Oh love, never be afraid to fly :wink2:

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Post by AvidBibliophile » 16 Sep 2019, 12:26

Meg98 wrote:
15 Sep 2019, 21:51
This sounds like the author had an interesting idea for a theme but unfortunately did not have the execution. Perhaps another round of editing would be beneficial, and the chaos and haphazard writing to be fixed. Thanks for this great review!
I completely agree with you Meg98!! His honest insight and bravery for sharing was commendable, but it was written and presented in an incredibly confusing way with an irritability that was almost palpable. Hope he can continue to work towards getting his message out to a larger audience over time. Thanks for the comment!

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Post by rumik » 16 Sep 2019, 14:49

"Chaotic compendium of balderdash" is such a powerful phrase haha, you really have a unique way of writing. I haven't heard many good things about this book so I won't be checking it out. Thanks for the incredibly detailed review!

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AvidBibliophile
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Post by AvidBibliophile » 16 Sep 2019, 15:04

rumik wrote:
16 Sep 2019, 14:49
"Chaotic compendium of balderdash" is such a powerful phrase haha, you really have a unique way of writing. I haven't heard many good things about this book so I won't be checking it out. Thanks for the incredibly detailed review!
Haha, thanks! I try to find some humor in life, and inject creative phrases wherever I can to keep things entertaining. As a psychiatrist myself, I have had personal interactions with schizophrenics who share a mood very similar to this author, and while they are often incredibly bright people intellectually, their paranoid hostility overshadows any message they may be attempting to get across.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 17 Sep 2019, 20:40

I feel for the author's protagonist. (Is it himself?) We cannot even begin to imagine the workings of a schizophrenic mind. I pray for a cure (and soon) for those who suffer from this malady.

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AvidBibliophile
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Post by AvidBibliophile » 17 Sep 2019, 20:54

Miriam Molina wrote:
17 Sep 2019, 20:40
I feel for the author's protagonist. (Is it himself?) We cannot even begin to imagine the workings of a schizophrenic mind. I pray for a cure (and soon) for those who suffer from this malady.
I most certainly sympathize with him and agree with your comment, Miriam. And yes, the book itself seems to be a compilation of notes and thoughts he jotted down over time and then compiled into this title. I have treated and tried counseling so many of these suffering patients firsthand, and have even given expert witness testimony in court for those who needed further long-term treatment. It is truly indescribable what they go through when responding to internal stimuli... voices that pervasively invade their lives in ways the rest of us can never begin to fully understand. Thank you for being a supporter of mental health.

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Post by Kelyn » 17 Sep 2019, 21:55

Oh my. Was this book self-published? Because I really can't see any editor actually accepting an entire book of profanity-laced chaotic thoughts for publication. I'm not touching this one with a 20-foot pole. Thanks for the warning!

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Post by corinaelena » 18 Sep 2019, 03:32

As a recent medical graduate, I must start this comment by saying that schizophrenic people tend to have this kind of disorganized thought pattern. While indredibly smart, they cannot keep up with a coherent conversation. Honestly, a lot of the times I felt like I was the one that couldn't keep up with them. Sometimes, if we open our minds, they have such special views on the world, they really make you think. I did not read this book, so I have no ideea if that is the case in this particular read. I sometimes enjoy books written by those with mental illnesses, they have a special touch that cannot be found anywhere else.
Great review!!!

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Post by AvidBibliophile » 18 Sep 2019, 15:18

Kelyn wrote:
17 Sep 2019, 21:55
Oh my. Was this book self-published? Because I really can't see any editor actually accepting an entire book of profanity-laced chaotic thoughts for publication. I'm not touching this one with a 20-foot pole. Thanks for the warning!
I do indeed believe it was a self-published title, Kelyn. In its current, disorganized state and format, it might truly be a literary snake pit you would wish to avoid with any length pole, and that is mainly the reasoning behind my harsh review, but if you are interested in diving directly into the chaotic mind of a suffering schizophrenic, this aggressively worded compendium would be a great place to start. Thanks for commenting!

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Post by AvidBibliophile » 18 Sep 2019, 15:27

corinaelena wrote:
18 Sep 2019, 03:32
As a recent medical graduate, I must start this comment by saying that schizophrenic people tend to have this kind of disorganized thought pattern. While indredibly smart, they cannot keep up with a coherent conversation. Honestly, a lot of the times I felt like I was the one that couldn't keep up with them. Sometimes, if we open our minds, they have such special views on the world, they really make you think. I did not read this book, so I have no ideea if that is the case in this particular read. I sometimes enjoy books written by those with mental illnesses, they have a special touch that cannot be found anywhere else.
Great review!!!
Thanks for your comment and insight corinaelena! And I wholeheartedly agree. As a physician who has worked with many psychiatric patients, both in the inpatient and outpatient settings, paranoid schizophrenics in particular are often some of the very most imaginative and bright people I come across. Their anger and fears often overshadow their creative qualities, and it is an unfortunate hurdle that we cannot even begin to imagine their reality of, but my life has been blessed by the calm ones! But sometimes threatened by the ones who are consumed by tendencies of accusatory aggression. Thank you so much for your contribution to the health field!

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Post by Manali_DC » 19 Sep 2019, 04:57

Wonderful review! Seems like the author has a very interesting story to tell but unfortunately the telling of the tale falls short. It would be chaotic inside the mind of a schizophrenic and I would have liked to read it, but I wish the book was better edited.

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Post by AvidBibliophile » 19 Sep 2019, 14:33

Manali_DC wrote:
19 Sep 2019, 04:57
Wonderful review! Seems like the author has a very interesting story to tell but unfortunately the telling of the tale falls short. It would be chaotic inside the mind of a schizophrenic and I would have liked to read it, but I wish the book was better edited.
Thank you kindly for your comment, and I most definitely agree with you! I genuinely feel like an interesting story of bravery and imagination and discussion-provoking topics are within this author, but without some significant revision and tampering down of the hostile tone, in my opinion, this book is not at a suitable stage for reading. Oftentimes, talking to these particular types of patients/people in person is the best way to begin to grasp their genuine personalities and passions.

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Post by Everydayadventure15 » 20 Sep 2019, 19:06

This sounds like the kind of book that, with proper delivery to its audience, could certainly create awareness of how the schizophrenic mind works. Maybe someone with editing experience and understanding could help clean up the book and make it more presentable. Thanks for what you do to help your patients and thanks the thorough review. It’s a little too chaotic for me but I’d be interested to check it out if it underwent more editing and revision.

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Post by unamilagra » 20 Sep 2019, 21:44

Oh my! Your opening sentence (perfectly stated, may I add) was enough to keep me from picking up this book. Sounds like the author needs to do some work on himself before he should be writing a book. Thanks for a great review!

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