The Sun Made Me Sneeze

Jon D. Gemma
CreateSpace (2014)
ISBN 9781496135018 
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (4/14)

Article first published as Book Review: ‘The Sun Made Me Sneeze’ by Jon D. Gemma on Blogcritics.

“The Sun Made Me Sneeze” by Jon D. Gemma is the story of a surrealist who questions reality. Gemma deals with issues regarding questions of reality, purpose, and the origin of the universe. He has been diagnosed with Schizo-Affective Bipolar Disorder. This diagnosis led to Gemma’s further study of the Psychotic Personality, Autism, Psychotherapy, drug abuse, suicidal fixations, and revenge. He also tells of his interest in Metaphysical language poetry and music. Gemma deals extensively with the influence of the Catholic Church, and his parochial education within an Italian ethnic family and community. It is Gemma’s intent to help the reader understand that they are not alone in their difficulty, by relating the insights he has gained over a lifetime of searching for answers. 

Gemma is gifted, a genius in art expression with a phenomenal range of vocabulary. He is able to converse on a plethora of disciplines: science, math, computer technology, literary works, music and the arts. His writing style includes metaphors, wild images, technical and abstract analysis. Gamma also tells of his darker side. Much of his art takes on the impressions depicted in the art of the dark ages. Gemma seems unable to find peace or the capability of knowing joy because of an inability to experience a balance in reality, the past, present, and future as he continues to struggle with self-acceptance, and finding meaningful relationships.

The philosophies of Plato and Socrates, the psychology of Jung, and the movies, music, and books of the 80’s have impacted Gemma’s thinking and writing. I wish he had included a listing of those specifically credited throughout the book as chapter endnotes or a suggested reading list.  As well, an index of terms related to the various personality disorders, therapies, and topics mentioned would add to the value for the reader as a resource tool.

I was surprised to discover an area where I specifically identified with Gamma’s experiences. During my formative years between ages seven through twelve I suffered a childhood nervous disorder and heart murmur that led to physical limitations and no athletic involvement. This resulted in the delayed development of important motor skills and body coordination. I often spent recesses, lunch breaks, and gym classes excused from formal participation, a lone spectator on the sidelines. As time passed there were times when I became the brunt of humiliation and embarrassment.  Also, although I was not raised in the Catholic Church; I was exposed to a lifestyle of taboos that delayed normal interaction with my peers, and like Gemma, I became a loner. I do want to mention that in my personal quest for a relation with God, I have grown in my faith. Today I find strength through Christ, the Christian community, and in my family relationships.

Gemma’s writing is sometimes repetitive and often fragmented; however, within the overall context, he relates to so many of the complex issues mentioned above that readers will find benefit from reading the entire manuscript. 

“The Sun Made Me Sneeze” by Jon D. Gemma is an amazing journey through the complexity, malleability, and development of the mind.  Gemma’s story is creative, intelligent, and insightful, written in metaphors, sometimes hard to understand. The book is a clarion call for societal action: by individuals within the community, the church, and their elected representatives in government.

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