In the book Belt Buckles & Pajamas, you are introduced to the main character Daphne and you learn very quickly where she is and why she is there. Daphne’s universe is a mental institution. Daphne’s friends and fellow patients orbit around her—each one with their own demons and inner-turmoil haunting them. Their universe is disrupted by the arrival of a new Therapist. Andie is a stark contrast to her stoic and regimented predecessor, Martin, and she has a way of reaching these lost, harrowed souls that he never had.
There are the archetypes one expects in an institution like this; the sex-addict, the paranoid, the nearly catatonic, the one who sees invisible things; telling from the title; one can easily surmise Daphne’s issues. The author touches on this sensitive issue with finesse, while exploring the madness of the others with a humorous eye.
You begin to discover the depth of Daphne’s pain, and the events that brought it to her. As you read, you watch her; under Andie’s careful guidance begin the process of healing and coming to terms with her past. Daphne’s growing self-acceptance alters her perspective about her universe; including the people who surround her.
Belt Buckles & Pajamas in my eyes is the beginning of an insightful book. The first draft which needs to be fleshed out into something greater. I was a bit put off by the pat characters; the seemingly stereotypical nature of each patient. They seemed sometimes only two-dimensional and lacked depth to be truly believable. I feel like not enough time was spent further exploring Daphne’s healing process, and that it was too easily resolved.
It is still a good read; and easy one as well; no flourish or wordiness complicates the book; it still communicates volumes in far too few pages. I give this book 3.5 medallions.
Author: Michelle LeBlanc
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Kanapolis Fog Publishing Emporium (May 31, 2007)