Saturday, March 15, 2014

Review: The Darker Side of Trey Grey

The Darker Side of Trey GreyThe Darker Side of Trey Grey by Tara Spears
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I copy of THE DARKER SIDE OF TREY GREY was received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

An overwhelming emotional experience from start to finish!

Trey Grey is one of the most complicated characters I have had the privilege of reading in quite some time. He was horrifically abused as a child and continues to deal with the damaging consequences, both physical and mental, that resulted from that abuse. He has been on his own for as long as he can remember, is highly intelligent, and possesses an inner strength that keeps him going even day after day. Trey wants nothing more than to find someone who loves him that he can love in return. When he meets Justin, and experiences his first spark of something more, the unexpected emotions change Trey's world forever.

He has received counseling in the past for the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms that resulted from his years of abuse, and is now attending college. He gets through each day by dealing with his emotions to the best of his ability, but it is a fragile balance between the trauma of the past and hope for the future.

The fact that he continues to work as a prostitute and turn tricks on the street to support himself is a double edged blade. On one side, he works for himself now, no one forces him onto the streets, and there is a strange comfort to be found in the demon that he knows. A part of him still longs to walk away from the chains of the past and find his own way, but fear of the unknown is a battle that is difficult to fight when all his energy is consumed by getting through the day.

While some reviewers have criticized the characterization of the mental health issues Trey displays, I found Spears' interpretation to be believable. Trey is a young man whose mind and body have been pushed beyond the limits most humans will ever have to endure and survived. While certain aspects of the story, (for example his 9 day psychological coma) push the human body's ability to survive to the limits, readers must remember that Trey is, at his core, a young man with an innate will to live, and the extreme circumstances exemplify that aspect of his personality.

The instance of OCD is particularly high among people with above average intelligence, and most people who have OCD are fully aware of the irrationality of their compulsions. It is also frequently seen in people with PTSD. Many people with OCD function for years without medication of any kind, but may need to re-adapt to their environments or start taking medication again, if stressful events occur in their lives. While often able to anticipate this need, symptoms may overwhelm their coping strategies if ignored or triggered unexpectedly, thus resulting in a medical emergency. The symptoms can, and often do, improve for certain patients when they feel safe in their environment. For Trey, his OCD rituals are usually more representative of a coping mechanism than an anxiety based disorder unless he is experiencing a flashback. I also thought that the counselor was wonderful in the way that he interacted with Trey. Counseling is about meeting the needs of each patient individually, and not treating every one like a textbook case. Every person with mental health issues has a unique experience, root cause, and manifestation of their symptoms. Recognizing this uniqueness and responding on a patient to patient basis is the only way to develop a successful doctor / patient relationship.

I thought Trey's perception of himself was particularly well written, as most patients don't think in medical terms about their own diagnosis, and tend to explain it to other people in their own way and using their own terminology. The human mind has a fantastic ability to repress memories and only deal with what it can handle at the time.

This book will take readers on a deep and dark emotional journey, and is not for those readers looking for a lighthearted romance or feel-good story. I thought Spears did a wonderful job with this book. It is steadily paced with a complex story line that builds upon itself as the book progresses. I loved the character interaction, both between Trey and Justin, as well as the complicated array of supporting characters. The level of sexuality was perfect, considering the difficult subject matter; descriptive enough to convey the scene and emotions without being overly graphic.

I gave this book five stars because of the profoundly emotional content but will mention that there were several typos, punctuation, grammar and editing errors. While noticeable, I didn't feel they detracted significantly from the story. I read a lot of self published titles and have learned to overlook most of these type of errors and focus on essence of the story. I also thought the author's vocabulary was great. While I occasionally had to use my dictionary, it's nice to read grown-up words every once in awhile!

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