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Gila: A Journey Through Moods & Madness
Undergrad Samuel Lim offers his two cents worth on Hanna Alkaf’s first novel release.
If Gila is anything, it is a clear mirror. Reflective of the drink and viagra state of Malaysia’s mental healthcare, both its system and people. Writer and journalist Hanna Alkaf dares to dive deep into the heart of the ailment, assessing not only the effects but the conditions that incubate and aggravate these very real issues. And for that, the woman deserves at least a salute. That being said, in the face of the vast sea of psychology journals, recovery biographies and infotainment 101′s, does Alkaf’s work rise above the tide? Or is its fate resigned to be drowned far below the deep shelves?
One thing for readers to note is the fact that this book is Malaysian. It is written by a Malaysian about Malaysians with the intent of informing Malaysians. So if you’re a local picking this up, you should be able to relate, or at least feel somewhat familiar, with the issues being addressed here. The book truly shines as a curious and fascinating online homeopathic pharmacy gem when it comes to its more anthological facets. The story about a struggling “foreigner” plagued by her racial medicamento la viagra and social stigma that begins to contribute if not trigger her anxieties. The story of the schizoaffective woman who believes that God is in her head or the one about the man who sees hidden messages in the hit song from the film Slumdog Millionaire, Jai Ho. They are interesting, heartbreaking and at times even unbelievable and yet they feel like they are right around the corner. These narratives are also bolstered by empirical and scientific research that helps to inject context into these human tales. However, the more statistical and analytical parts of the book can at times feel out of place. And sometimes, it may even prove to detract the pace of what would have been a tight and relatively cohesive piece of literature.
Alkaf is a straight-shooter and it shows. The book for the most part avoids feeling viciously verbose, meandering and self-masturbatory. Her writing style is very telling of her occupation. Given the material she had to work with, she took the rather prudent option of relying on the facts and stories to speak for themselves. Only ever using descriptions to contextualize the gravity of a given situation in lieu of flexing her literary muscles. In comparison to the lengthy, unapologetic great bastard swords or war hammers of the genre (i.e. Gladwell or Freud), Alkaf has opted a dagger. Short, sharp and straight to the point. Gila is a relatively short book and I would argue that fact works to its advantage. The length of the book will seem more accessible to casual readers while adept readers can easily cut through
it like a hot knife through butter on a spare day. If its purpose was to reach as many people as possible then I suppose viagra super active reviews this mode would be most ideal.
Beyond a few structural gripes that I’ve had with it, I found Gila to be a pretty gratifying read. It finds a good balance between non-fictional anthology, factual exposition and industry exposé reports. If you’re somebody who has always had an interest in the field of psychology, Gila is a decent introduction. More well-read psychology aficionados can still enjoy the book on the virtue of its riveting narrative aspects. It’s informative, interesting, in-depth and very timely as well.
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