“In My Mind” is the story of a young man who is infatuated by a student named Gabriella who reminds him of delicate butterflies. It follows Steve from childhood to adulthood and the mental demons that play havoc in his mind. He is unable to talk to anyone about it as he doesn’t realise the mental depth he is in, till that dreadful night when Gabriella dies whilst held by him against her will, and he is then sent away.
This story covers mental health, depression and hitting rock bottom in Steve’s mind and looks at how this sensitive subject is still a taboo as we do not know enough about mental health and its consequences on our and others’ lives.
About the Author
Shaida Merhban is the author of numerous novels with very important social messages including “Tears Behind the Veil”, “Tears of Silence”, “Blossom and I”, “Remembering the Night Train”, “Mother’s Veil” and “Eyes of Osama”.
“He sits on his buttocks with his nose dribbling slowly like the tap that has worn out its washer, but all the while, he keeps his eyes firmly on hers. Fixated. For a moment, he stands still and yet his head is chasing butterflies. Nothing new there! His humming tune sounds like, “Sweet Gabriella the most delicate butterfly of all, now here with me forever, just the way it should be, the way it should have been a long lifetime ago, my sweet, my sweet.” He interrupts his own broken strings to slide his arm straight across his moist face. He carries on, telling her that it has taken him five years to get her to come to stay in his kingdom even though she has visited his public house upstairs many times.”
“In My Mind” by Shaida Mehrban is available in paperback with coloured illustrations and as an e-book from Amazon UK. It is also available from Amazon US.
In the cellar
The time that Steve and Gabriella spend in the cellar is my favorite part of this book. I think it’s because the reader doesn’t really know if she’s still alive or not. She speaks at first but later, is she just unconscious or is she dead? I removed “lifeless” on page 1 because she’s still moving and aware at that time.
I was impressed with the number of adjectives used. I would be careful about using the same ones over and over. In fact, for legibility’s sake, using adjectives and adverbs in the same sentence is something to avoid. Ex: Quickly he jumps up, his eyes showing a bit of rage, he quickly moves up the creaky steps… There were times, however, that Steve repeated himself which is expected since he has a mental illness. I left some of those repetitions alone.
Something that really confused me was the use of the first person once or twice in the cellar, once in the police car, and once at the police station (pg. 70). At first, I waited for another character to show up or maybe Steve was seeing all of this in the past in therapy. Since that didn’t happen, I changed those instances to third person.
When Steve was talking, I put quotation marks. Even though most of the time in the cellar he was talking, there were still times that there was narration so the quotation marks made it flow better.
In the POLICE STATION
When Steve is talking, he rambles. Often the rambling doesn’t make sense which I know can happen in real life. There is a fine line here because you want the book to be realistic but it also needs to be legible. I changed the rambling so that it made sense and removed a little of it.
There was also a lot of repetition by Steve but some of it was just too much. Ex: page 68, “I’m pathetic and yes I am pathetic, that is what she yells all the time, you are a pathetic excuse of a man just like your father…” I changed that to “I’m pathetic and that is what she yells all the time: ‘you are a pathetic excuse of a man just like your father.’
The narration also had some repetition. Ex: page 80, “Maybe today Steve will move a little closer to his destiny. Destiny is not in Steve’s hands today as his mind is in turmoil today.” Changed to “Maybe today Steve will move a little closer to his destiny but it is not in his hands as his mind is in turmoil.”
When Steve is in jail, he starts to think about a lot of things. On page 73, the narration jumped from third person to first person. I attempted to change it all to third person but that didn’t work, it needed to be in first person. So, I put a heading, “Steve’s Thoughts,” at the beginning of the first person narration by Steve.
I like the concept of In My Mind as well as how it was presented, starting out in the cellar and learning Steve’s story as you read. The kind of happy ending is good too although I would have left out the last paragraph.
Press/Media Contact Details:
Darin Jewell (literary agent for Shaida Mehrban)
The Inspira Group Literary Agency
Tel. 0208 292 5163
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