Mental by Shaz Johar

Bagi Maya, menjadi orang gaji di dalam rumah teres dua tingkat itu ibarat menyelia sebuah institusi mental. Tuan Jin menduakan isterinya, Puan Sierra mengharungi tekanan perasaan, Rashid bencikan anggota badannya sendiri, dan Rania seolah-olah cuba menjadi murtad!

Mereka semua gila. Mereka semua punya cerita.

Tetapi kehidupan Maya berubah apabila dia dikejutkan dengan namaRaudhah. Dia jadi bingung dan terganggu. Siapakah wanita itu? Apakah kaitan wanita itu dengan dirinya? Dan mengapa nama itu seakan-akan mempunyai satu cerita yang sukar untuk dia ungkaikan?

MENTAL mengisahkan tentang pencarian. Mencari sesuatu yang jelas di depan mata, mencari sesuatu yang bakal diberitahu, dan mencari sesuatu yang cuba dihindar.

First thing first, the title suits this book really, really well. For once, I thought I was going "mental" with the whole thing.

Truth be told, I don't know how to review this book without giving out major spoiler, so let me put a big SPOILER here. What I can say about the plot was that Mr Shaz had done incredibly well with the POV in a very limited scope (read the book and you'll know what I mean). Unlike Cekik, whose title character also had a dose of insanity while narrating the story, this one didn't confuse me at all. However, the sense of madness and bewilderment felt real and convincing. I liked the slow revelation about the main character, Maya, as she brought the readers through her journey. At first you felt like she was just another pitiful person caught in a terrible environment, but soon afterward you started to doubt everything that was real, even Maya herself felt a bit surreal. 

The writing was fairly easy to read, so maybe that's why I finished this book within a day and half. Mr Shaz didn't linger on unimportant things, opting instead to show us the "mental" aspects of Maya's everyday WTF life every waking moment. Readers were constantly kept on edge and always asking what on earth was going on with Maya and the family she was taking care of. Not only was the writer using psychology as a major theme here, he made the readers felt like patients as well. There were times when I thought I was actually losing it, especially near the end where the story fell into place. I think it was great that Mr Shaz could still retain so many craziness even though I managed to figure out what was wrong with Maya after half the story. Usually I would lose interest when I already know what was going on, but the quality of the characters' kept me glued to the end. 

I've only read Mr Shaz's other book titled Kougar, but I know he's really good at creating believable, complex character. Maya was the type of character you'd loved to hate but couldn't help but pity her all the time. Other characters helped kept the insanity in check like lustful Jin and jealous Sierra, and also the questionable cuckoo Rashid who was suffering from BIID and Rania who was accused of converting religion. I liked the way the writer handled the other characters so as to keep the truth hidden from readers. Psychology as always, had always been an interesting topic to write it, even if it was played quite straightforward here. But that was understandable since Maya herself was a very simple-minded character. 

Overall, this is a very good book. I recommend this book to everyone.