Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Book Review: A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

This is a spoilerriffic review, you guys. So, if you don't like that, accept that I liked the book, because I did and I'm still thinking about it a little.

Author: Mindy McGinnis
Published: 2015
Source: Edelweiss
Summary: Sent to a madhouse (!) because she's pregnant (!!) by her father (!!!!!!!!!!), a girl escapes, begins to help a doctor solve crimes, and takes control of her own life.
First Impressions: This was very interesting but the ending troubled me somewhat.
Later On: Okay, you know from that premise that's it's not going to be sunshine and roses. (Slight spoiler; she miscarries, which is one of the events that prompts her to escape from the asylum and start working with the doctor.) But this was a dark book, folks. It deals with profiling a serial killer, and with her revenge on the father that put her in this situation. 
 And yet it was a well-deserved darkness. There's an anger boiling under her surface - anger for herself, anger for her sister, for her friends, for the raw deal they've all been handed by being born women in a society that values them somewhat less than pretty dolls.
I'm somewhat relieved that it didn't go the route I expected, of having her fall in love with the doctor. In his way, he was as awful as anybody in the asylum, although not as awful as her father. While he doesn't take sexual advantage, he does see her as an extension of himself, a tool like a stethoscope or a scalpel, and he's surprised when she expresses her own wishes and desires or does something unexpected.
The ending is morally shaky (her father takes the fall for the murders they've been investigating, because she killed the real perpetrator) but emotionally satisfying, which is more important in the context of this book.
More: Here's a quick interview with Mindy McGinnis that touches on the history of mental illness and the reviewer's (favorable!) opinion of the book.
A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy (she's way better at being not-spoilery than me)

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