‘Infinite Book 3: My Truest Fiction’ is a memoir of author David Christopher Lawrence, a sufferer of paranoid schizophrenia, and his life surrounding his experiences with it, episodically. The book is part of the ‘Infinite Book’ series and is implied to have a later follow-up that details more aspects of the author’s experiences and recovery, completing his memoirs.
The author views his ‘illness’ as a part of him that cannot, and should not be silenced (“cured is the wrong word, integrated is the right one”), instead embracing the “truths” that are revealed to him by his voices and inner revelations, giving perspectives that he believes are beyond regular human knowledge. Numerous ‘facts’ are mentioned and dropped during the course of the book like stones in the river of flowing consciousness that the book is constructed from, many without significant justification. The result is an unflinching and sometimes coarse observational piece through the author’s constructed world-view, referred to as “shock education”, with the intent of showing “that fact and fiction are not as separate as we might choose to believe.”
Written like ‘Memento’ if the film was erratically cut and spliced together like a ‘Fight Club’ Tyler Durden-esque aside, the book contains an unfinished collection of diary entries and similar personal writings, partially fictionalized “to protect the innocent AND the guilty”, documenting the events and circumstances leading up to, including, and following his incarceration in a psych ward, in no particular order other than what the author deems relevant, with holes in reader knowledge filled in with the many footnotes on every page, chiming in not just the author and his citations but his family and often some of the voices in his head, some of which claiming the Divine (ideas of the author being “worthy of connecting Heaven and Hell” and similar phrases are common to see here). The result is a story woven from many threads, full of short personal essays on many ideas, both philosophical or theological and general.
The book has merit as a case study of the inner workings of schizophrenia from a first person perspective, and may be of great use to someone looking for a textbook guide to the condition, as well as those interested in a unique perspective on normality, society and theories on the way the world works and should be experienced. This book challenges some stereotypes of mental illness from the first page onwards. However, those expecting a straightforward experience or any kind of definite conclusion or message should be warned: this book is not at all straightforward. It is pondering and cerebral and anything but linear, at least by regular human perception. This book enjoys its tangents, asides and deviations and finds the Devil in the details, sometimes literally, and should be taken with an open but skeptical mind, with a willingness to encounter some of the more visceral and unprocessed ideas put forward by an author unafraid to include such writings as “AN ESSAY ON PORN.” While this book stands as an interesting window into the mind of a sufferer for students of psychology: for others, it may be less engaging due to its winding path, which however, is the testament of Lawrence’s debilitating condition.