Book Review: Diary of the Mad by Victoria Kulik Haugnes


I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review


Haugnes’ Diary of the Mad is a series of short stories showcasing some of the best and worst elements of the human experience. Many focused on the darker aspects of life- loss of hope, despair, depression, motives of murder, suicide, homicide. There were those that focused on the happier aspects too, such as love and lust.


These snippets are raw, visceral. While the pieces are fictional, the author tells us that the underlying emotions were things native to her. These were writings to purge the soul, to give name to inner demons, and take power away from them. That really spoke to me. We all have them, be? These darker bits that rise up when least expected, after laying dormant, and exercising influence from the hidden depths of psyche. Or sometimes, from not so dormant a state.


Many resonated deeply with me, the ones focusing on depression and suicide, the former more than the latter. One piece that truly spoke to me at this time is ‘I am Like This Mug’, where the narrator is contemplating a mug that has a piece chipped from the rim, now so long present that the edges are smoothed. For many weeks now, I’ve been going through the loss of a network of friendships extending back two decades. People I thought would always be part of my life. The rough, sharp edges of that loss are finally just beginning to dull.


The author does mention in the opening that English is not her native language. The biggest thing I noticed in regards to that were instances of confusion between singular and plural nouns, and occasionally confusion with verb tenses, which were easy enough to phase out thanks to the disclaimer. That being said, a thorough combing over by a good editor can turn this promising gem into a dazzling masterpiece.

????Recommended, especially if you enjoy philosophical pieces that make you pause and think.

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