Book Review: 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace by Johan Twiss

  • Title: 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace
  • Author: Johan Twiss
  • Publisher: Twiss Publishing
  • Where to Order: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Genre: Inspirational, Magical Realism
  • Would I recommend: Yes

From Goodreads:

Diagnosed with a rare form of meningitis, fourteen-year-old Aaron Greenburg is paralyzed from head to toe. Doctors believe he is essentially brain dead and unaware of his surroundings, but Aaron is very much aware—trapped in his own mind with no way to communicate.

To cope with his imprisonment, he retreats to an imaginary world called his Mind Palace, but the lines between reality, and time itself, start to blur when he receives a new patient as a roommate—an old, outspoken, Jewish jazz musician, named Solomon.

Filled with witty humor and heart-warming experiences, 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace is a coming-of-age story, entwined with an end-of-age story, that will capture your imagination with a hint of nostalgia, a hint of the whimsical unknown, and a wild adventure through modern history.

My review:

Fourteen-year-old Aaron is paralyzed due to a rare form of meningitis. His parents have moved him to a nursing home for care, and everyone around him thinks he’s in a vegetative state. But Aaron is very much alive inside his immobile body. He sees his parents coming to visit less and less often, and he sees the strain in their relationship. He gripes about the nurse leaving the same thing on the TV all the time. But he can’t communicate with anyone, so he retreats into his mind palace – his imaginary safe place, where he’s free from the bonds of his unmoving body. Then he gets a new roommate. Solomon, a jazz musician, is in the early stages of dementia, and somehow he can hear Aaron’s thoughts. And not only can Solomon communicate with Aaron, Aaron gets pulled into Solomon’s retreats into his past.

I’m not sure what I really expected when I picked up this book. Whatever I thought it would be, it is so much more. Johan Twiss writes with such wonderful turns of phrase. He captures both the attitude of a teenage boy stuck in a prison not of his own making and the crusty exterior and heart of gold of an elderly Jewish man who’s somewhere he doesn’t really want to be. And this story takes us so many places! We see Aaron’s relationship with Sarah, Solomon’s granddaughter, grow and take shape. We get a tour of history through Aaron’s travels in Solomon’s dementia dreams. And the characters are so believable, so well written. They felt like friends. I cheered as people started to realize that yes, Aaron could hear and could think and was still there. This story made me laugh, and gasp, and roll my eyes, and want to hug the characters. Well done, Mr. Twiss. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary advance review copy from BookSirens and the publisher. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

About Lisa @ theplainspokenpen

Mom to boys. Happily married. Jesus follower. Avid reader. Proofreader, trying to make it an actual paying job. Amateur foodie. Scentsy consultant. I thrive on chocolate and strong coffee, and I need some extra hours in my day.
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