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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