Title: Love in the Asylum
Author: Lisa Carey
Genre: General fiction
One-sentence summary: The story of a junkie and a manic-depressive who fall in love in a mental hospital is intertwined with the story of a schizophrenic (?) Indian shaman (?) who was committed to the same hospital 70 years before.
Why did you get this book? It was on the bargain table at Brookline Booksmith, and I'm always game for a book about crazy people.
Do you like the cover? Yeah, it's kind of clever, really: a pink pill and a blue pill cozying up in a little paper cup.
Did you enjoy the book? You know, I did. Quite a bit. It was a pretty light, pretty quick read - not light in the sense that the subject matter is light, which it definitely is not, but light in the sense that it's basically meant to be a pageturning story. It's a good one, though. The "love in the psych ward" bit was handled surprisingly well - usually that plotline is terribly unrealistic, but it made sense to me both logistically and in terms of character development - and the story of the maybe-schizophrenic maybe-shaman was well done too, and kept the contemporary love story from getting bogged down or turning dull. I liked the ambiguity as to what her deal was, and the questions this book tosses around about what "mental illness" means. And I liked that it didn't answer those questions, and that the characters' various issues weren't tied up in a neat bow at the end. On the whole, it was very nicely done.
Was the author new to you and would you read something by this author again? Yeah - last I knew she'd only written one book, something about singing mermaids, and I looked at it a few times because it had a pretty aquamarine cover and then decided against getting it because the cover looked like the best thing about it. But who knows, maybe I'll read something more by her now. I don't feel compelled to, but I could be interested. It will probably hinge on what turns up on PaperbackSwap.
Are you keeping it or passing it on? Keeping.
Anything else? I'd recommend this book to anyone who's interested in the summary, but with a caveat: there are a number of graphic scenes of sexual violence, and anyone who's likely to be triggered by them should not read this book.
Scale of 1 to 10: 8
Number of pages: 290
Total pages for the year: 8375