MANIC WARS by Trina Ann Pion is a raw look at mental illness and how those who suffer from it are poorly treated even in a developed nation. This novel follows Christina Wars, who suffers from bipolar disorder, and her life over the span of about two months in Montreal, Canada. Ms. Pion inflects her own degrading experiences with mental illness and the health and justice systems into the novel. The story illuminates a world of unfairness and distrust to which these patients are subjected.
It is clear from Christina’s first hospitalization that the odds are stacked against her as she navigates the health system. Or, as the story unfolds, the health system dictates what happens to her. Although she’s brought to a hospital against her will, it is for the best because she wrecks her house and is acting irrationally, but she can’t even have a cigarette until she has hounded the staff there.