James Coast

FLASH REVIEW: "Pardon My Psychosis" by James Coast

Feb 2, 2024
Dimitris Passas

"A once normal life now shattered like a piece of defective pottery at the hands of its distraught maker."

In what will be definitely remembered as one of the most smashing debuts of 2024, James Coast takes the readers by the hand and invites them to occupy his headspace during the tempestuous outbreak of mania. The authenticity and bravura by which the author handles his subject matter are indicative of a bona fide talent who took a big risk in his first writing attempt, choosing a distressing, even disturbing, main theme, nevertheless ultimately scoring highly in every aspect. While Pardon My Psychosis may be classified as a memoir, it certainly stands out among the other works of the genre. The author is himself the first-person narrator of a story that is brimming with insightful introspection and profound inner monologues that allow the quintessence of mania to be fully revealed. The book features a powerful first sentence, with Coast employing a sublime metaphor that encapsulates the essence of mental illness and sums up its devastating consequences for the sufferer.

The relationship of the narrator with God is one of the core motifs permeating the entirety of the text and Coast, a devout man of faith, is daring enough to intermingle psychosis and religion, never losing focus and remaining respectful towards the readers, believers or not. The author excels in the parts where he sinks his teeth deep into the description of the disrupted thought process and overwhelming elation experienced by a manic person. At one point, Coast makes use of a vivid simile as he mentions the Holy Book: "The words were a jumbled bowl of prophetic spaghetti." Confusion reigns in the narrator's mind, leading him astray to the perilous road of grandiosity, the pinnacle of the sickness; the man believes that he is God's chosen, thus as omnipotent as the creator of the universe.

Despite the book being a true-to-life account of the author's personal experiences while battling mental illness, it often feels more like a thriller, the tension gradually escalating to reach a climax and then melting away to let the afflicted breathe freely again and find his footing in the world, away from the distortion and turmoil imposed by the sickness. As a bipolar myself, I was diagnosed 11 years ago, and I've been on medication since, I know first-hand the hallucinogenic perception of reality by the manic and I always aspired to write someday an account of my own experience. After reading Pardon My Psychosis, though, I realize that I couldn't come even close to Coast's brilliant and accurate portrayal. His prose is something to be relished and doesn't even for a moment allow the reader to think that the author is a novice. I cannot recommend this title strongly enough and I want to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free ARC in exchange of an honest review. The title will be released on March 19, 2024.


Pardon My Psychosis
James Coast
Publication Date
March 19, 2024

Join the Discussion