Book Review – Blue Asylum
I’m a little back logged as far as books are concerned.
What I’ve recently finished:
What is it about?
OK Tell my why I seem to be drawn to books where women are thrown in insane asylums for crazy reasons? asks the uppity feminist of the 21st century, reading about women in the 19th and early 20th century. All I have to say, that while women still have a way to go in terms of achieving equality, at least we’ve come far away from that! I’ve read my fair share of books with this premise or I’ve marked books like this as “to read” and I just end up feeling so terrible for these women!
Anyway, this specific book is about Iris Dunleavy, a Virginia plantation wife who is sent to the Blue Asylum off the coast of Florida during the Civil War after she is found to be mad for disagreeing with her husband over ideas concerning human decency and property. Iris is sent to an insane asylum with “modern” techniques to “cure” her. As someone in the 21st century reading this, I could not help but see the differences in the definition of slavery in the 1860s vs now. At this facility, she meets a soldier, Ambrose Weller, who is reeling from his experiences on the battlefields of our nation’s Civil War
Why did I read this?
Honestly, I think I was wondering around Amazon one weekend and found it. Luckily my library had it as well and I was one of the first in my branch to read it (It’s the little things, no?)
What impressed me about this book?
I’m not going to lie–excessive descriptions of settings is a personal pet peeve of mine. I pride myself on the visions of the story in my head. That said, this book is essentially set in a swamp area. While I’ve heard DC referred to one countless times (, even I can admit I’ve never been. The descriptions in this book were clear without being too verbose.
What disappointed me about this book?
One very abrupt ending – I felt like there was very little resolution for many of these characters. I finished the book and I can’t help but wonder: What happened? And not like when you finish a book and you wonder what happens to them afterward. I genuinely felt like questions were left unanswered.
What reading challenge(s) did this book apply to?
- My ordinary Goodreads challenge – 10th out of my goal of thirty books to read in 2012
- Historical Tapestry – 6th out of 20 Historical Fiction books to read in 2012
Tags: 19th-century, 2012, abolition, african-american, coming-of-age, family, female, friendships, historical fiction, mental-health, mental-health-institutions, minority, ordinary-people, read, slavery, united-states, us-civil-war, women