Fourteen-year-old Aaron Greenburg receives what appears to be a life sentence when he contracts a rare form of meningitis that leaves him totally paralyzed and unable to communicate. The doctors and his parents are convinced that Aaron is a virtual vegetable, unable to interact in any way with the outside world. His parents have given up on Aaron and as he lays unable to move even a muscle, his mind is very much alive and very much active. To Aaron, his life has lost all meaning strapped to a hospital bed, unable to communicate and make the outside world understand that he is very much alive and his brain is still able to function. The intense loneliness and frustration this brings him causes him to create a mind-palace inside his head where he can retreat to whenever the loss of his freedom threatens to overwhelm him. In Aaron's mind palace he is able to move, to talk and to interact. It keeps him sane.
Aaron's life changes forever when an elderly man suffering from the early stages of dementia is moved into his rest-home room to share with him. Soloman Felsher can hear Aaron's thoughts and suddenly Aaron is no longer alone. What follows is a fascinating and wonderful journey, in Aaron's mind palace, through the life of this amazing man, as he and Aaron undertake a tour of the twentieth century, as seen through the eyes of Solomon Felsher.
This is a stunning tale, beautifully told by Twiss. As a reader, I was moved and deeply touched by the depth of the relationship that developed between this elderly man and his teenage friend. This story is chock full of good lessons for life on relationships, happiness, sadness, and many other emotions. Twiss has managed to tell a wonderful story and impart some great life lessons to his readers. What more can an author aspire to?
I take my hat off to Johan Twiss and know that this book - 4 Years Trapped in My Mind Palace is sure to be a strong contender for this year's third annual "Grunter" awards. This is a stunning story and a wonderful read that I cannot recommend enough. A great job, Mr. Twiss.