THE iREAD REVIEW
Life Long is a fascinating book about a man with schizophrenia who is doing his best to survive in a world that does not understand him.
We meet Ray in court for traffic citations. The judge is lenient on him; a cop Ray meets later tells him it’s because his ex-con cousin Billy is under surveillance. Ray is the caretaker of a church where he has been hiding money for Billy; the police might therefore be watching him, too, according to the voices in Ray's head.
In a panic, Ray decides to take the money and run away from the cops, Billy, and the voices in his head. After suffering from a breakdown, Ray is prescribed Zyprexa to keep the voices away. Unfortunately, he only has a limited number of pills and what with being on the run, getting a refill is a challenge. He buses from Central California to Los Angeles onto Phoenix, then to Dallas and, finally, to Laredo. Along the way, he meets several people, some friendly while others, intent on getting his money, less so. But Ray's worst enemy is himself as he doesn't know who to trust.
Life Long is not only well-written, it is a character study into the life of a schizophrenic. It also offers insights into both the dangers of being an immigrant and the substandard conditions under which poor people are forced to travel the country. This story is many people's reality and is both heartbreaking—when the only man who helps Ray dies and he starts trusting the wrong people—and hopeful—when he finds someone who will help him all thanks to one good deed.
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