Verdict: THE PSP CHRONICLES is raw and difficult to follow, but it provides insight into an everyman’s experience, writing through a devastating disease.
Soon after Brown discovers that his memory lapses, his changed gait, and his moodiness are all attributed to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), a rare neurodegenerative disorder similar to Parkinson’s, he begins a journal to record his experiences. THE PSP CHRONICLES is the memoir-esque result of these efforts.
In his narrative, Brown works hard to record the daily burden of living with a neurodegenerative disease. Keeping this record of his daily life helps him realize that his faith has enabled him to lay by inner stores of hope upon which he can still draw. However, the record also shows—both intentionally and unintentionally—that living with PSP means living with unrelenting hardship.
Brown’s narrative is raw, repetitive, and often confusing. It’s raw because the journal is delivered as-is; it is episodic and not organized as a tension-driven story. It’s repetitive because Brown’s days with PSP are very much the same; they are structured around daily tasks, daily visits from a home health aide, and the daily irritations of managing an illness alongside aging pets and an adult child with autism. The narrative is confusing because of uneven verb tense, which makes it hard to determine where in time (and place) events take place, and because of a lack of scene-setting elements. Without a better sense of Brown’s pre-diagnosis family life, work life, and personal life, readers have to strain to grasp the post-diagnosis fall-out.
Despite this—and perhaps because of it—Brown’s narrative can be affecting. It is quite obvious that THE PSP CHRONICLES is not meant to explain PSP or to give readers comprehensive (or even objective) insight into PSP’s destructive path. Instead, THE PSP CHRONICLES is meant to show readers how an unexpected, incredibly difficult, and life-altering diagnosis has affected the life of this man, Tim Brown As Brown writes, “This story and subsequent books aren’t meant to be perfect written works. This is a true story of my personal journey with a rare, terminal brain disease.” In this sense, Brown doesn’t have to explain how his external and internal life have been devastated: It’s written on the page.
THE PSP CHRONICLES is raw and difficult to follow, but it provides insight into an everyman’s experience writing through a devastating disease.
~Molly Gage for IndieReader