Review: Shadowed Soul by John M. Spagnoli

Published: 2013
By: CreateSpace
Source: from the author
Format: paperback
ISBN:  9781482501759

Additional Information:
Pages: 280
S.R.P.: $10.95

NEW YORK – Shadowed Soul by John M. Spagnoli is a fiction novel about bi-polar Thomas Milton, as he struggles to rebuild his life with the aid of his blind wife’s seeing-eye dog, Bailey.The compelling drama follows Thomas and his wife, Beth, as they embrace and endure the birth of their firstborn through the holiday season in New York City. Fears and anxieties that plague Thomas are personified in the form of the Shadowed Soul a demonic specter who stalks the protagonist’s every move.

As his manic-depression escalates, his expectation for more problems is answered in abundance. His life goes from great to bad to worse. With the unconditional love of watchful Bailey, Thomas grapples with seemingly insurmountable challenges as he chooses to rebuild his shattered life.

Much of the journey through manic-depression is autobiographical, with the exception of the main character’s online pornography addiction and the demise of certain relatives. Set in the present, Spagnoli’s intention is to depict clinical depression in a way that provides a clear road map to leading a full life.

– From the author

With all due respect to the author, and this story, I couldn’t finish it. Not because it was a terrible book, it isn’t! I did, however, find it slightly triggering. Not because I could relate to having a bi-polar disorder, or have suffered familial tragedies like the protagonist in this story, but because there was a particular tone in the story that actually scared my mental well-being.

I basically read a large number of the first chapters and then skipped towards the end to get a good grasp and understanding of how this book developed. As with anybody who suffers from the debilitating disease of depression, it never ends. It doesn’t leave you, you just learn to cope, whether it’s medically or otherwise. So I know the very end of this novel, Thomas (the protagonist), wasn’t going to live happily-ever-after. He was happier. He sought out the necessary help to be able to understand what he was going through. Why he was dreaming of his psychologist and his wife we both being held hostage by a man in a hat; bonded and gagged, like the pornography he became addicted to when his wife chose to live in her parents home for the safety of his and her child rather than come back to the unsafe apartment they called home.

How he constantly spoke of the feelings for his wife’s seeing-eye dog, Bailey, and the comfort of the dog’s company was to him and keeping him sane. Shadowed Soul is an interesting read. I’m sure there are people who have enjoyed the depths of understanding of what a person goes through – psychologically – and what in-turn results physically. It’s a very difficult thing to read. I may return to try and read through the chapters I skipped, but momentarily, it’s too much.

3 Star signature

About the Author

John M. Spagnoli is the author of Shadowed Soul and How to Grow Worsleya Seeds. Avid gardener, poet, husband and father, he hales from Metropolitan New York and is currently working on a Masters from Mercy College and holds a B.A. in Anthropology from State University of New York, New Paltz. As a successful, self-managing, bi-polar gentleman the author found solutions that have enabled him to form strategies toward leading a joyful life which he has chosen to share in Shadowed Soul. Dedicated to raising awareness about depression, Shadowed Soul is the first in a fictionalized series that includes researched cases of manic-depressives who beat it, as well as some of the author’s personal experiences.

Author Quote

“With a suicide attempt behind me, my dog was my only friend. I was separated from my beloved wife for the umpteenth time, clinically depressed, unemployed, paranoid, self-destructive and in need of a shave. 20/20 hind-sight, I was growing. Some people pay big bucks for hard times that challenge them enough to make them grow. Look at the popularity of extreme sports and sub-zero camping! I got my challenges for free, since childhood. The upshot of these challenges left my life a wreck, but resulted in this work of fiction, Shadowed Soul and a whole new chapter in my life that has turned out to be very fulfilling.”

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About Black ' n Write Reviewer

I'm a junior high librarian finding her way into the lives of her students through the art of literature.
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4 Responses to Review: Shadowed Soul by John M. Spagnoli

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  3. I’m glad you wrote this review. It sounds like a book that might work for me when I’m looking for a gritty novel. 🙂

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