Verdict: JOURNEY TO THE WEST VALLEY WALL is a complex study of one man’s debilitating illness and the extent to which he must go in order to be free.
JOURNEY TO THE WEST VALLEY WALL tells the story of Jack Van Horne, the author of two science-fiction novels starring Sage Sauer. While his novels are not national bestsellers, they have amassed a number of passionate fans who are eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series. Unfortunately for Jack, he has writer’s block. He simply cannot continue the story of Sage Sauer, regardless of the clamoring of his fans. Even worse, he suffers from agoraphobia and only leaves home to travel to his psychiatrist’s office and his local coffee shop. Things are not looking good for poor Jack.
Thankfully, Dr. Demers, Jack’s psychiatrist, has a plan to free Jack from his psychological prison. Jack, along with his roommate, Shelly, will travel to Jack’s sister’s house on the West Valley Wall. There, Jack will watch his niece, Tessa, for a few days. Although it is not a cross-country journey, Dr. Demers hopes that it will help break Jack out of his routine. For his part, Jack is less than enthused. However, Shelly, Jack’s best friend since high school, is tenacious and will not allow him to avoid this most necessary journey. Despite Jack’s best attempts at deferral, the two soon head out in the car affectionately dubbed the Rustang and begin their voyage to the West Valley Wall.
Jack’s journey there and back, along with his time at his sister’s house, will be full of adventure and discovery. Over the course of the novel, Jack must face his demons and break through the writer’s block that threatens to derail his writing career. As the novel races toward its shocking conclusion, readers are left to wonder if Jack can ever overcome the obstacles that continually plague him in order to defeat both his agoraphobia and his writer’s block. Can Jack truly break free of his prison? Or is he doomed forever?
JOURNEY TO THE WEST VALLEY WALL is a fast, unpredictable read that leaves readers guessing until the very end. Its depiction of mental illness is sensitive and powerful, and the novel’s main character is sympathetic and convincing. Readers may or may not be pleased with the novel’s conclusion — but its unexpected nature will give every reader much to contemplate and discuss.
JOURNEY TO THE WEST VALLEY WALL is a complex study of one man’s debilitating illness and the extent to which he must go in order to be free.
~Jennifer Noll for IndieReader