I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Plot Summary
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden is a story about 16-year-old Deborah Blau and her quest for mental health. She has been schizophrenic since her early childhood, but it was only when she slit her wrists that her parents decided to admit her to a mental hospital for treatment.
Once Deborah is a patient at the hospital, she begins intense daily therapy to try to sort out the illusions of the Kingdom of Yr, her alternate reality, and the real world. For three years Deborah fights against the fear of losing her realm of escape, and she and her therapist, Dr. Fried, try to sort through the symptoms of Deborah's illness to get at the root of the problem.
As a child, Deborah was a victim of anti-Semitism at school and at the summer camp to which her parents sent her. In addition to that, she was traumatized by an early childhood surgery that caused her intense physical and emotional pain despite the doctors' promises that it wouldn't hurt at all.
Deborah uses the inner strength that she and Dr. Fried discover among the sickness within her to combat the anger and fear that she feels toward the world. Despite several setbacks in her treatment and moments of sheer desperation, Deborah finally realizes that she belongs to the world of reality and she can live in it happily, if not without some work. She wants to live, and with this new life, she finds that she has formed friendships in the ward.
Deborah realizes that life is not easy or fair, and that sometimes the only way to know that you're living is if you are fighting. But she decides that she'd rather be fighting and alive than resigned to a world that exists only in her mind.