Gaslit By A Madman by Author Max J. Lewy
Reviewed by Realistic Poetry International
Familiar with the work of Author and Poet Max J. Lewy, we immediately prepare ourselves to take a dive into the deep, a place many know and seek to avoid, subconsciously cautious of abnormal, uncontrollable waves and currents. But - not Author Lewy.
An advocate for mental illness with his own intimate stories and experiences to share, Author Lewy's Gaslit By A Madman is an up-close and personal glimpse into the eyes of an extremely powerful thinker and visionary, where 'madness' is rooted distinctly into his blood and bones, enabling him as a rebel (to societal norms), and more importantly, empowering him as an independent and freethinker, leading into an important question:
Does the Author's ability to opt to choose his own thoughts rather than the ones told to him make him...crazy?
Well, truthfully, there is much, much more to this Author's theory of madness than what one may think or want to believe. And it all starts with the soul.
Reviewers Highlights (1) – “He Strove”
Key takeaways: Do I relate to this person? How far will I go to achieve my goals? What will I lose? Are questions readers may ask themselves while reading this particular poem, as Author Max J. Lewy goes on to highlight and define a relentless will, vision, and ambition strong enough to help one man strive against some of life’s most high, heavy waters.
Through the process of creative effective characterization, this poem points out strength (physically and mentally) while also remembering the inevitable of sacrifice on the journey of obtaining one’s goals.
The word, ‘strive,’ in this poem efficiently centralizes the theme, reflecting key descriptive qualities such as ‘aspire,’ ‘attempt,’ ‘endeavor,’ ‘aim,’ ‘struggle,’ etcetera. Making great use of imagery and metaphors to further describe this endeavor, Author Lewy writes:
“He strove against the moon, relentless ruler of the tide,
He swore that when his fate’d come, he’d be ready just in time;
He strove against the land, air, the sun, the sea,
The little folk who laugh, and throw stones at you and me…”
He then ends the piece by unexpectedly highlighting the sacrifice:
“He strove so long, so hard, so proud, against shallow conformity,
The sorry thing was, -so exhausted with striving was he -
He never did leave his dormitory!"
Reviewers Highlight (2) – “Lobotomized The Beast”
Key takeaways: Are angels and demons really real? Can the depth of the mind and all its inexplicabilities truly be analyzed, depicted, and summarized into the human book of psychiatry?
Well, Author Max J. Lewy shares an interesting perspective on this in his poem “Lobotomized The Beast,” seemingly personifying ‘psychiatry’ as an invasive and overbearing character he describes ‘caging him’ with no sign of relief. One can sense and hear the Author’s verbal yelps and screams.
More than a poem, we read between the lines only to find this poem appears to be a possible personal, traumatic experience the Author may have experienced in his life, inviting readers into his world where the “once Christ-force that dwelt within” ultimately transforms into an empty ghost. This reality and picture sends chills down the spine!
With plenty of references to the spiritual realm using key words such as ‘the devil,’ ‘gods,’ and ‘Christ,’ Author Max J. Lewy illustrates to readers the war between worlds within himself (earthly and spiritual) that he endures, and skillfully associates this internal mental tug-a-war with the roots of mental illness, emotional disturbance, and abnormal thoughts/behavior. Without a doubt, it vividly reflects his philosophical personality and views on some rather sensitive societal and personal issues, leading us into the next point.
As an Author and Poet, we find that Author Max J. Lewy indulges in the power of enlightenment which he stems from the spirit and soul. This can be found in poems such as “Piloting the Soul” and “Spirit’s Ladder.”
From a more technical perspective, the book’s layout depicts the Author’s eccentric personality with pages similar to what one may find from out of a scrapbook, including several interesting images to accompany each poem.
There are also quotes scattered throughout the book, one saying, “Poets – only poets are permitted to be crazy,” furthermore defining his stance on mental health (Just More Meds) and psychiatry (All Quiet On The Frontal Lobes).
Overall, we present this book with a 4-star rating and believe it is a book to enlighten and delve beyond the surface of shallow waters, in which, indeed, it did. In essence, Lewy’s attempt to bring awareness to the subject and concern of mental health is more than evident, and we applaud the Author for using himself as a vessel to speak out about his experiences to others, plunging the mind into a complex world where it can often become deeply cold and unfathomable.
This book is available on Amazon at