Reviewed by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer.

Safa Shaqsy’s The Fourth Reason dives into the mind of Amal, a paranoid schizophrenic. At the age of eighteen, Amal had become pregnant while living with her boyfriend Rob. When she revealed she was pregnant, he dumped her. While living with her mother, she gave birth to Sophie. Her best friend Lana took her out for coffee and the waiter, Blake, left his phone number on a napkin for her. During their second date, Rob intrudes and tells her to stop dating Blake or he will take Sophie away. Amal has a mental breakdown and is taken to a mental institution by ambulance. Rob gives her an ultimatum to break up with Blake or he will pursue custody of Sophie. What will Amal do?

The inner workings of Amal’s mind are eloquently penned by Safa Shaqsy. As I read each page, I felt empathy for Amal. The voices that overrode logic were constantly at war inside her mind. What made things worse for her was the persistent delusion that everyone was out to get her. Blake was extremely forgiving after she had rejected him and what I found astounding was that Amal always turned to him for help. I would have liked to learn more about Amal’s stay in the mental institution. I think that knowing what treatment she received to improve her mental health would be beneficial. The timeline was measured with the milestones that Sophie reached. The overall theme of self-love and forgiveness was easy to follow in The Fourth Reason. I think this book would be beneficial to people who have family members affected by schizophrenia. The ability to look at the world through their eyes may help people understand the condition better.

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