I know about this illness—very well—because I suffer from it. It’s been four years since my diagnosis, and ever since, I’ve been living in a dark hole. Voices constantly invading my thoughts. Hallucinations. All of which force me to question if what I’m experiencing is even reality.
But here I am, still hanging on, still breathing and living through it.
That is, until he stumbled into my life. Logan Reed. I don’t want any part of him. I’ve pushed him away, but he isn’t easily deterred. I’ve told him I’m different, but he doesn’t care. He’s trying to slowly break me down. I’m trying just as hard not to let him. He doesn’t know how truly damaged I am; what will happen when he does?
I know the truth—he’ll never be able to look at me the same way again. Just like everybody else.
Geez. It’s always so hard to review books like Perfectly Damaged. Those books that sneak up on you and slap you across the face with their raw, powerful, poignant message. The ones that seem to challenge you. Be honest. How many of you think of schizophrenics as being completely nuts? They hear voices and see things, often times they commit heinous acts because “the voices told them to.” Before reading Perfectly Damaged I had no idea that there were different types of schizophrenia, and I’d never even head of Schizoaffective disorder. I shudder to think of my ignorance. E.L. Montes gives us a gift. She allows us into the mind of someone suffering -there’s no more appropriate term – from this type of mental illness.
I. Love. Jenna. LOVE her. She might not love herself, but I more than make up for it. Her character is so raw, real, BRAVE. Not only is she dealing with a pretty rough mental illness, but a mother who isn’t worth the air she breathes, a father who is essentially nonexistent, and the death of the only person she had to lean on, her sister, Brooke. I’m not entirely sure how she even functions. She does have Charlie. Loved Charlie. Just a heads up, I loved a lot of these characters and I will probably use that term entirely too many times throughout this review. Deal with it. Charlie is, or was, Brooke’s best friend. When Brooke past away, Jenna almost inherited her. Seems funny, but that’s basically what went down. Jenna used to rely on Brooke a great deal and it’s almost as through Charlie picked up the slack. She practices tough love. She forces Jenna out of bed, makes her face the world, and encourages her to live.
Logan Reed is lost. I don’t think there’s a better term for him. He just seems to be flitting through life, sleeping with whoever comes along. He doesn’t really love anyone. Yeah, he loves his Uncle George and his cousin Bryson, but that’s not the same thing. In his sort life he’s suffered through a lot, lost a lot. He’s just sort of existing. That is until his uncle’s construction company breaks ground on the McDaniel’s guest house. Yup, you guessed it, Jenna’s family…
Jenna is pretty determined to keep Logan at arm’s length. It’s kinda rough keeping a mental illness from someone, especially when you’re falling for them. I think that their reaction to the news is a valid concern. Lord knows that if I were Jenna it would crush me have Logan look at me like I had a screw or two loose. But the heart wants what the heart wants and it’s a greedy bastard. It always seems to get what it wants.
The ending was perfection. So often it seems that books follow a certain progression. At 30% the characters give into their feelings, 50% it becomes people serious, 70/80% some catastrophic event occurs, 90/95% things are resolved – and then they live happily ever after. Perfectly Damaged kept me on my toes. I loved EVERY minute of it. Someone buy me a thesaurus! If I use love one more time I may poke my eyes out. I remember thinking that her illness didn’t seem too severe, that it wasn’t all that serious and then, WHAM, I found myself eating my words. I’m telling you, absolute perfection.
This is one of those books you have to read. You just have to. You need to put it on your ever growing list of books to be read. It’s dark, depressing, rough, raw, hard, sad… It’s also filled with hope, love, loyalty, and helps to restore your faith in humanity. Read it. You’ll love it. I just know it.