Book Review: “Left of the Dial” by Christina Bruni
By William Jiang, MLS
Fashion, Romance, Music, Ambition and More
Christina Bruni’s memoir Left of the Dial (Createspace, 2015) is a tour de force. Christina is a storyteller, first and foremost. Schizophrenia is the backdrop to her hopeful story, which is full of fashion, romance, music, ambition and more. Since the first chapter was fortissimo engaging, I could not put her book down, and so ate it whole the very first day. Needless to say, I was aching for more.
In this powerful memoir, Christina reveals she studied English Literature during college (tops in her classes, I’m sure). Bruni’s writing flows with passionate energy while maintaining a subdued mellow feel. If still waters run deep, she tells it best.
Throughout her book, Miss Bruni’s life philosophy, “normal is boring” (and I strongly agree), is loud and clear. Like the Chinese axiom, “May you live in interesting times,” translating as “May you live an interesting life,” are exemplified by her experiences and biographical anecdotes. People who live with serious and persistent mental illnesses seem to live, by default, more colorfully than those who float by on a cloud of normalcy. Perhaps, Christina’s story would also do well on the silver screen.
Like Bruni, the lot of us who battle mental illness have larger-than-life personal stories. Indeed, our life chronicles take us from heaven to hell and back again. When I read a story like Christina’s, I am reminded that in some way I am blessed to be able to share my own story of schizophrenia with others. As a Buddhist monk once said to a woman who was a victim of rape, “You are so fortunate to have survived your ordeal. Just by living, you will be able to give other women who have survived rape and sexual abuse much needed hope.” If more people had the courage, vision, optimism and storytelling ability of Christina, it would suit me just fine.
I disagreed strongly with one thing Ms. Bruni said in her book toward the end. It was something to the effect of “this is my only story.” My hunch is that we are in for another treat in the future. I feel that her book publishing career has just begun. “Bravo, Christina e gratzie!” My sincere hope is to someday talk to Ms. Bruni on the phone and maybe meet up for a coffee one author to another. Buy the book and experience the ride. The way you think about schizophrenia and your life may never be the same after you read Left of the Dial.
Life is best lived left of the dial.
Editor’s Note: William Jiang, MLS, is the author of A Schizophrenic Will: A Story of Madness, A Story of Hope and Guide to Natural Mental Health, and eighteen other books on Amazon.com.