Out From Under: A Mental Maze of the Past... A Novel of Triumph
by Mark Platt
Stratton Press Publishing

"'Hello dear, how's your day? Say, can I have some that carjacking money for groceries?'"

Contemporary California is the major setting for one man’s chronicle of his descent into clinical depression and multiple suicide attempts. In this high-energy yarn, readers are taken along for a spellbinding ride through guilt, confusion, fear, remorse, anger, frustration, and more. It is a tale of loss, a spiral into near oblivion, and an arduous journey back to some form of self-esteem that holds at least the promise of contentment.

Telling his own story in a first-person narrative, Greg recounts sexual abuse suffered at the hands of his teenage cousin when he was only seven. Hiding his shame from others and his perplexing feelings of potential complicity, he does his best to lock away his memories. Even as his adult life turns into a series of successes, failures, and Phoenix-like returns from the ashes, he continues to struggle with acute emotional damage. His plight is made infinitely worse by his romance and marriage to a congenital liar and drug abuser. Despite the overwhelmingly tragic elements of the narrative, what is intriguing is that the whole thing makes you laugh more than you cry.

Platt is an author with a particularly well-developed sense of humor. He recognizes the need for mirth among the misery and keeps both coming equally. Greg’s wife, Ilana, is the essence of evil, but Platt makes her wildly attractive. Her two brothers are crass criminals, but the author imbues even them with endearing qualities. Platt’s plot is as intricate and involving as his protagonist’s illness. Greg’s ongoing attempts to extricate himself from his troubles, overcome his self-loathing, and eventually find redemption never become maudlin. One can chalk that up to Platt’s pen being firmly dunked in ironic ink. Clever, but never condescending, this story educates as it entertains.

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