Despite enduring a mental illness, a young woman does her best to juggle life, love, work and hardship in Muhammad’s debut novel.
On the surface it seems that beautiful Anika is poised for success: She has a dependable, if boring, job that pays the bills; she’s dedicated to her studies; and she loves her longtime boyfriend, Mosi, more than ever. Anika’s future seems bright, until her jealousy and inability to trust others begins to cause problems in her relationship and day-to-day life. A chance encounter with David, a man she meets in a grocery store, only adds more confusion and turmoil to her already chaotic world. Pushed to the limit, Anika develops schizophrenia. With her mental illness in full force, she loses her job and then gets evicted from her apartment. To make matters worse, her future mother-in-law starts meddling in Anika and Mosi’s relationship. That's when things quickly go from bad to worse. As Anika comes to terms with her illness and manages to put her life back together, she realizes that Mosi is her soul mate, and she does whatever she can to win him back. Muhammad’s brief novel sheds a realistic light on mental illness. Readers will find themselves relating to Anika’s resolve to move past her struggles, while appreciating her determination to help others. Some readers may find Muhammad’s writing style confusing and the shifting perspectives distracting, but it’s clear that she has incorporated her work experience with mental illness to inform her book with those realities. If readers can look past the often rudimentary writing and undeveloped characters, they’ll be moved by Anika’s fortitude.
While scattered and disorganized, this novel may find an audience with readers who suffer from, or know someone who suffers from, mental illness.