The novel Leave of Absence is a story of loss and a story of strength. Readers join Oliver Graham, Penelope Baker, and William Baker on their tumultuous journey through pain, struggle, and triumph.
Enjoy a little pictorial peek into the story.
First, a video preview:
Oliver meets Penelope and her fiancée William at Airhaven Behavioral Health Hospital. He’s taken there after a suicide attempt, and Penelope is getting help for schizophrenia.
In Leave of Absence, Penelope’s fiancée William is a chef. He makes comfort food for Penelope and Oliver, and he takes it to them in the hospital. One meal is chilled cucumber soup because it’s Penelope’s favorite, and it’s something Oliver can easily eat without gagging or getting sick.
“Penelope wanted to be better, to be complete, to be attractive again, and if eating the crayons would transform her, then eat them she would. One by one, she cracked them into pieces. Snap! Snap! Snap! She spit the wax, slashed through the wrappers, slid her fingers into the stack, and shoveled smidgens of color into her mouth.”
Among other things, schizophrenia involves psychotic features like hallucinations and delusions. Penelope’s include a belief in beings called Kerffies and interactions with a very twisted Eleanor Roosevelt.
At one point, Oliver’s psychiatrist tells him, “And each hour, ask yourself what small thing you can do to make it through to the next hour.
Tanya J. Peterson’s ability to create vivid imagery with her words, while using strong storytelling to pull readers in, shines in Leave of Absence. The story tackles heavy topics of loss and mental illness through the characters Oliver and Penelope. But it doesn’t weigh you down because there’s a thread of hope running through each page. —Jeneé Darden, Web Content and PR Specialist, Host of Mental Health and Wellness Radio P.E.E.R.S. Peers Envisioning and Engaging in Recovery Services
Above all, Leave of Absence is about hope.
Tanya J Peterson