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I've always been a believer in the idea that the stories of others can be life changing. Whether you relate to the story or not, other perspectives can potentially change your outlook on life. I, as a person who has no first or second-hand experience with mental illness, feel that way about Neal Shusterman's book Challenger Deep. Challenger Deep tells the story of a 15-year-old boy by the name of Caden Bosch, who is unknowingly struggling with schizophrenia. The disorder is new to him, and he has no idea what is happening to him. In his head, he is on a boat headed for Challenger Deep, and everything that goes on there corresponds with reality. He is soon admitted into a psych ward, where he meets several people that impact his life and continues his journey to Challenger Deep. The book is very metaphorical, which only serves to deepen the beauty of Caden’s journey. His life on deck mirrors his real life in ways that lend insight into the way Caden feels about certain things that go on, that allow us to understand his mind more than we ever could without that world. The drawings that were placed within the book, illustrated by the author’s schizophrenic son, also provide a way for the reader to see his inner workings with the added heartbreaking knowledge that the drawings were not just something the author made up but raw emotion penned by someone with first-hand experience. I also really appreciated the fact that Caden’s relationships were not sugar coated. The bonds he forged were not forced the way they are in some novels, but came into existence naturally. Not all of them survived, which brought a refreshing yet jarring sense of reality to the novel. The chapters were short and changed drastically from chapter to chapter, which served to depict the nature of the disorder very well. The beginning confused me, but that changed as the story went on. The ending also did not answer many questions I had about the other characters. I recommend this both for people who have went through similar to trials and tribulations with their own mental illnesses and people like me who just want to learn from other people's stories. This book did very well in educating readers on mental illness as well as removing stigmas by allowing us to traverse the mind of Caden Bosch.
Warnings: Just some bad language really. It's not common, and even if that bothers you I still suggest you read this book.
This is an incredible book, it is hard to get through sometimes, but keep reading, it gets better, and then it becomes incredible.
This book was a tough read. I'm not going to sugar coat it. But, it was a very insightful look into living with mental illness. It was a work of fiction yet it seemed very plausible. If you need to better understand how mental illness affects the person living with it as well as the lives of those around them then read this.
A powerfully honest, emotionally impactful, and ultimately hopeful journey inside the mind of a teen dealing with a mental disorder. The construction of this story and the complexity and relatability of the characters blew me out of the water (pun recognized, but not intended). This book is not what I typically think of as "my type of story," but it is definitely the best book I have read so far this year, and it's certainly going to stick with me.
There are no pat answers here. No easy solutions. Mental illness isn't used here for glamour or cheap drama. Caden's delusions can be terrifying. It's hard to imagine that someone's own mind can torment them so mercilessly. Caden's tale is heartbreaking - he will have to deal with his illness for the rest of life, and that really isn't fair. In the end, though, the story is hopeful and empowering, and I hope it will reduce the stigma of mental illness for the people who read it.
Definitely worth the read! This book made me feel like I was inside of Caden's head, it all makes so much sense and I loved it so much. Very well researched and excellently written. Five stars, I would read it again.
Want to know what it feels like to struggle with schizophrenia? Read this book!!
Caden Bosch struggles against the pull and occasional allure of mental illness in this gripping tale where the lines between what is real and what is imagined make it nearly impossible to surface from the depths below.
Readers sharing Caden's story from inside his head will feel confused almost all of the time. It skips around from one place to another--one reality to another. Caden is a high school student living a typical life. Caden is on board a pirate ship in search of the treasure buried at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, a ship where the strangest, most fantastical things happen. Caden is a high school student living an atypical life, doing things his family, friends, and others don't understand. It's all a confusing mash of narratives that flow into and out of each other freely. "It" being the story. "It" being Caden's perception of reality. "It" being Caden's mind.
Perhaps you've seen the statistics about how large a percentage of homeless people have mental health issues. You've surely seen scenes on TV and film where a street person rants about things only they can see, scarily disconnected from reality; and perhaps you've seen it in person. That is Caden. Only Caden doesn't know it, he just lives the reality that presents itself to him. Readers only know what Caden knows.
Journeying with Caden in Challenger Deep is a fascinating glimpse into an unusual experience. Fascinating, confusing, frightening, powerful, and captivating. It will almost assuredly give you insight into the minds of those with mental health issues and change the way you perceive them.
It might even, as a side effect, give you insight into the much more mild ways we all spin, interpret, construct our perceptions of reality.
Caden Bosch is a normal high school student; he's also trapped on a sailing ship with a mad captain and a mutinous parrot. Caden Bosch has two worlds inside his head, and he can’t quite tell what’s real anymore. A haunting, powerful story of mental illness based on the author’s son.
Caden dreams he is aboard a whaling ship in search of Moby Dick and The Krakken. Or is it a dream?
Fiction book - main character has mental illness.
Reviewed in NAMI magazine - looks interesting...
This book was interesting. My least favorite and most favorite thing about it was how we got to go to her world and real life. I love how the characters that were on the boat were the kids and doctors in real life. I was very confused until a bit after half way through the book, but it was good and I loved it very much.
This book was very interesting. I really enjoyed and appreciated getting this insight on mental illness. It was a bit hard to get into at first; the beginning seems very disjointed and a bit confusing, but it was great to see things come together as the story went on.