And Then I Thought I’d Review My Friend’s Book

I should preface this by mentioning that the author of this book is a friend of mine.  I also know his parents and brother, all of whom make a number of appearances in this memoir.  For anyone reading who thinks these facts disqualify me from writing a worthwhile blurb about Pete’s book, well, I suppose this is where you might stop reading.*

For anyone else who stumbles upon this entry, I would first like to present a summary:  this book is a very dark and very entertaining memoir concerning Mr. Welch’s descent into and recovery from a psychotic episode.  If you own a Kindle, you can be reading it for a mere $2.99 in about thirty seconds.  And you should.  I managed to latch on to a hard copy**, because I know people who know people.

Now to elaborate a bit.  When I knew Pete best there really wasn’t any reason for me to think that he would, a year or so after we dropped out of regular contact, be admitted to a mental institution.  I can honestly say that the thought never occurred to me.  I also ran into him a few times post-psychotic episode, and to me, it was the same old Pete except perhaps with lower meat to bone ratio, a well-honed smoking habit, and a couple casually-told (at the time, also amusing and seemingly innocuous) stories about leaping into the frigid waters of Bar Harbor, Maine naked and ‘borrowing’ a car, all while on acid.  Those stories are also in this book, told with the same flair for descriptive language and entertaining style that I remember…but with extra detail and many other stories that show just how my friend descended, all within the space of several months***, from a disgruntled, LSD-addled, exhausted, seasonal Bar Harbor restaurant worker to a resident of a state-run mental institution.

This is where much of the darkness in the memoir creeps in.  To detail why and how all it fits together to make a great book would take this blurb toward more of a ‘review’, which I’m not really serious enough a writer to embark upon.  Suffice to say that by interweaving his own account with quotes from his friends, quotes from his family, and a moderate, but interesting swing through the brain chemistry that drove it all, the reader is swept along on Pete’s journey through a hell that he was rarely cognizant of while it was happening.  Though it is difficult for me, being a friend, to step all the way back and determine whether an anonymous reader would be as affected by the reading as I was, I want to say yes.  Even if I am incorrect, I can say with certainty that it’s a good read.  Highly recommended.

* There.  Marked it for you.

** Thanks Mom.

*** If I’m recalling the timeline properly here…

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