Rose Garden

Joanne Greenberg, Mental Health, Chestnut Lodge, Psychiatric Institute, Schizophrenia, Freida Fromm-Reichmann, Patient, Mental Illness, Care, Misunderstood

Author Joanne Greenberg published I Never Promised You a Rose Garden in 1964 as a fictionalized story based on her own experiences with mental health. Joanne Greenberg wrote this novel under her literary double, Hannah Green. Joanne disguises herself and her experiences portrayed in the novel through the main character Deborah Blau. Deborah is admitted to Chestnut Lodge, a psychiatric institute, at the age of 16 as she suffers from Schizophrenia.  Under the care of Dr. Fried (masked as the doctor Freida Fromm-Reichmann who helped Joanne) Deborah shares her experiences reciting poems in the Irian language and describes herself living in a world known as Iria. Through it all, Joanne uses this novel to share perspectives of mental illness through the patient, the mental health workers, and others as mental illness during this time period was heavily misunderstood.

“Sometimes the world is so much sicker than the inmates of its institutions.”
― Joanne Greenberg, I Never Promised You a Rose Garden

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Image Credit:
Feature image: Victor Malyushev on Unsplash, Creative Commons