For those that tend to a more sunny disposition, The Maladjusted by Derek Hayes might be a journey on a road seldom trod, but it’s a road well worth travelling.
Hayes has written a collection of short stories that lets you look at life from a new perspective, and allows you to identify with characters that often live on the fringe of what we would consider a “normal” existence. Hayes puts us in touch with that voice inside that speaks incessantly as we go about our daily lives by introducing us to characters who, as much as they differ from us on the outside, echo many of our own thoughts and beliefs on the inside. This creates a connection that allows us to view those “maladjusted” members of our society in a whole new light.
From the grimy back alleys behind the apartment of the “mentally ill” Mike, who finds solace and perhaps a life in the game of Chess, to the dignity we can so plainly see in Melanie as she struggles to find her own level of normal, Hayes characters are people that we might pass in the street, people we work with, or people that are part of our family. But what he truly makes us realize is that they are indeed people.
Focusing in on telling his tale through a first person narrative that relies on keen observation,and touches upon all five senses, you see firsthand what Hayes’s characters see, you smell the dampness in a room, you feel the weight of a ball in your hand, and taste the tang of a vegetarian pizza. But more importantly you hear their thoughts. You begin to understand how they interpret the world around them, and hear their thoughts as they make those interpretations. A unique perspective that allows you to step out of your own thoughts, even if just for a moment, and feel, if for but an instant, what it would be like, to be one of “The Maladjusted.”
“Do you hear voices? No, but sometimes I feel a bit maladjusted.”
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