3 out of 4 stars
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Peter is admitted to the Psychiatric Complex when his friend Isabella calls in his case. The Psychiatric Complex is a poorly run state facility, “a cross between a jail and a badly run hospital” according to Peter. He gets help and is transferred to JJ Erasmus, a private hospital. Henrico, his psychiatrist, tries to get rid of Peter’s friends, Fred da Silva and Baby. Peter, however, does not like this as he likes both Fred and Baby. He has a strong bond especially with Fred and does not like that Henrico wants to get rid of him.
Just over two weeks after Peter’s admission at JJ Erasmus, Henrico manages to get Peter on medication that gets rid of Peter’s friends. Peter is not pleased, but the medication makes him lethargic and he has no inclination towards conversing. He is discharged to a home for schizophrenics so that he recuperates there. However, the patients in this house are left to their own devices and soon Peter is off his medication and mixed up with some dangerous people.
This interesting story about Finding Fred da Silva by Ferdi Wheeler is written in the first person. The language is simple with a few words from South African languages. The book is divided into three parts; each following each place where Peter gets admitted.
The first person point of view from Peter made the story quite interesting. It gave a whole new perspective on mental illness. Peter is aware of his illness - at least to some degree, but it is not a problem as far as he is concerned. At one point Peter wonders why he is considered mentally ill and yet some preachers claim to have been talking to God but are considered sane. Fred and Baby are very real to him. They are his friends and he sees no need to get rid of them. His meetings and conversations with these two characters are quite interesting. Peter’s interaction with and perception of other patients is also quite interesting and at times humorous.
I mostly enjoyed this book, but I was disappointed by a large number of both grammatical and typographical errors. I am inclined to think that this is the author’s first manuscript and is yet to be professionally edited. There was also inconsistency in formatting the titles, that is, the first part is titled Part One and the second is titled Part II. Also, the first few lines of a new chapter start at the bottom of a page instead of the top of a new page. There are also a few instances of profanity and some blunt descriptions of partial nudity.
This book will make an excellent read after professional editing. I rate it 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers of fiction who are interested in mental illness. I recommend the book for adults because of the sensitive nature of mental illnesses.
Finding Fred da Silva
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