Monday, March 06, 2017

Book Review: What She Left Behind

I decided it was silly to continue calling these book reviews "Friday Books" when I rarely get the review posted on a Friday. If you want, you can still search for all my reviews by using the tag 'Friday Books,' but I'm going to start calling them Book Review. It has been a long time since I read a book per week to be reviewed on every Friday. Since those days I have slowed way down on my reading.

The book I recently finished is What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman. The premise is interesting.. what life was like inside an insane asylum back in the 1930s and 40s, especially for women. Back then women were sent to asylums for a number of reasons which today we recognize as normal and not a mental illness at all, or being something that is treatable outside an institution: depression, mood swings, being too assertive, or just annoying someone. Involuntary placement was not uncommon.

The author did a bit of research to find out what life inside was like; she set her novel in Willard Asylum which was a real place in central New York, near Ithaca. My sister lives in that area, so I found it fun to find familiar place names in this novel.

It started out interesting, but it dragged on for too long. It was predictable, for the most part. Part of my prediction was wrong, but mostly it was correct. The best part of the book was the last couple of chapters when the tension and mystery escalated. Otherwise, I was glad when I finally finished the book.

Now I am curious about the actual place on which it was based. I'm going to do a little of my own research, and will also ask my sister what she may have heard or observed about the place (which was closed long ago, of course).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Historical fiction often sets me searching history. Glad to know I can skip the fiction and go directly to history on this one.