Review: Gaslit By A Madman: Philosophy, Madness, & Society by Max Lewy

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What It’s About:

GASLIT BY A MADMAN, “The Certifiably TRUE Ravings Of A Sectioned Philosopher”, is a droller take on the subjects of mental health, political issues and Nietzschean, Christian, Jungian, existentialist and post-modern philosophy. Don’t be afraid to question your world view, don’t be afraid to think you might be a bit ‘mad’. Who isn’t?

It is based on the author, Max J. Lewy’s, own experience as an oh-so-patient patient in the N.H.S. Mental Health System. Veritably knocked off his horse by two out-of-control, gaslighting shrinks at the tender age of 23, his writings trace his recovery from this life-changing, iatrogenic incident over the next 12 or so years, exploring the ‘mad’ identity that was placed upon him and the truly insane, or certainly very flawed and eye-brow raising System which so unfortunately often does such things to quite healthy and relatively rational people. This book, released on his 36th (that’s 6 x 6) birthday as a little gift (for “The Beast”, presumably… but who knows. Maybe Lucifer. Maybe Jesus. Maybe the old bearded madman at the end of the street with an “The Apocalypse Is Nigh” cardboard sign hung to the back of his bike.) contains both prose — mostly aphorisms in the style of Nietzsche, but also a number of longer extended essay-like pieces assessing contemporary thinkers & society– & it also contains poems.

Goodreads | Amazon 

Guest Reviewer Ms. Honey 🐝’s Thoughts:

This compendium of writings, incorporating poetry, anecdote, quotations, and collage art, is a raw and anguished exploration of the author’s mental health journey, particularly his negative experiences with psychiatry, psychotropic medication, and treatment facilities. It is clear that Lewy is processing his grief and trauma through his art. There are isolated moments of powerful imagery in his poetry, although the illuminated poems are somewhat odd and ultimately distracting to this reader and detract from the words themselves. Standout poems include “Lunar Portal”, although the author’s intelligence is apparent throughout his writings. Many other poems are made more juvenile than intended by the strained attempts to rhyme.

Lewy is a deep thinker and ruminates in his writing using a powerful vocabulary. “Psalm 6 on Philosophy” was particularly well done – tightly written with strong imagery. However, throughout the pages, there are numerous distracting font changes, that together with the haphazard flow of thoughts and extended, run-on, loose associations, disrupt the overall flow for the reader and ultimately detract from the points he is earnestly attempting to make. Although the overarching theme is his passionate opinion of the dangers of the mental health system, using personal anecdotes about how he feels harmed by his treatment, Lewy strives to cover other expansive concepts such as love, societal inequalities, religion, and politics. Kudos to the author for using his writing to deal with the stigma of being diagnosed with a mental health disorder and subjected to treatments he feels were damaging. He wishes to share his thoughts on a grander scale and make a difference for others. He clearly has a strong intellect and the raw talent is emerging through his work. However, as Lewy himself writes, “real truth saves lives.” – in keeping with that philosophy, an honest review of Gaslit by a Madman must express that this reader found the writing to be somewhat rambling, unfocused, and confusing.


Check out Realistic Poetry’s opinion: Review


Other Books from Max Lewy

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Available at Barnes & Noble





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