Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Alice and Dorothy by J.W. Schnarr

288 pages
J.W. Schnarr
Northern Frights Publishing
Amazon buy link - $2.99 (kindle format)
Drive Thru Horror - $2.99 (other formats)

The Blurb:

A FAIRYTALE OF SEX, DRUGS, AND MURDER...Alice Pleasance has just killed a man.Later, while suffering a heroin overdose, Alice visits a nightmare world of playing card royalty and violent tea parties. Worse, Alice discovers that her broken mind has dragged something out of her delusions and into her waking life. Something evil.
Trapped in a psychiatric ward while dealing with her drug addiction, Alice finds an unlikely friend in Dorothy Gale, a girl who knows all about other worlds and the duality of life. Sweet, gentle Dorothy, who carries a stuffed dog named Toto and has a few secrets of her own.Now they are on the run, escaping vengeful drug dealers, trigger happy cops, and the horrors being created inside Alice's own shattered mind.
And while Dorothy clings to the promise of love as she chases a tornado across the country, Alice clings to her sanity, because the creature sharing her mind has a growing bloodlust that will not be denied.

Holy crap. This book is gritty, demented, and ultimately unforgettable.

I had such a soft spot for Alice and her "Alice in Wonderland" psychotic episodes. I worked with homeless people for several years, many with mental illness and drug addictions. Schnarr's depictions of that kind of life mixed with a mental illness ranks amongst the most realistic and visceral that I've come across in fiction. When Alice is screaming at the voices in her head, hitting and killing as she tries to deal with the fractures in reality, I recalled the stories that homeless people often told me about their own lives.

Alice and Dorothy's adventure, or killing spree, or descent into insanity (it depends on what point-of-view you're using) grabs your senses and runs with it.

It was a difficult book to read, but far more difficult to put down. It pushes the envelop, and creates a masterpiece.


  1. This sounds like an incredible book but I'm not sure I could handle it. It just sounds crazy and horrifying and I'm although I don't shy away from issue books I'm a bit afraid of horror and the demented part. Just too much for me. Glad you liked it!

  2. I found that it was readable, provided I wasn't planning to sleep anytime soon. I read it chapter by chapter because the emotions of the book were so raw that they affected me. Granted, I know this is because I worked with people like the characters and, thus, could see the faces of people I know in the story.

    I don't think this is a book for everyone, but I do think it's worth folks giving a long as they have the lights on. It never scared me, but God, it was raw.

  3. I have to really be in the mood for a really demented read, but I do have to admit you have made me curious about this one.

  4. So I'm not really into books that deal with such crazy stuff, but I have to say I'm impressed with the imagination in this one, just based on the synopsis. I love re-tellings of tales, so I think it's really cool how the author spun all those stories around like that.

  5. Missie - I'm still thinking about this book. It's really lingered with me.

    Ashley - I rarely read these kinds of books. They are so hard on the emotions. I'm glad I read this one, but I definitely don't read these kind all of the time! I'd never sleep again!

  6. Sounds really interesting... mental health issues always interest me.

  7. Oh wow! So glad to see you enjoyed this one. SOunds like something very deep with all the issues to read about. Thanks!

  8. Wow...that is certainly a new take on the fairytale classics... O-O Glad you enjoyed it!

  9. I have to admit that I find the Alice/Dorothy combination interesting. Though, now that I think about it, I'm kind of surprised nobody has done it before!

  10. I know! It's kinda like...huh. Now that you say it, why didn't anyone ever think of that?

  11. "This book is gritty, demented, and ultimately unforgettable." <---you totally had me at that line. I'll be checking this one out. Thanks for your review!

  12. This one sounds quite intriguing.

  13. The book sounds great- your review really made it come alive!