Zinester turned school librarian turned novelist Julie Halpern tells what seems like a very accurate depiction of life inside a teen mental health facility, complete with check out date determined by your insurance coverage. When I say "turned" that's misleading. Halpern manages to be all three at once, not giving up her ziney roots or her librarianship while publishing her books. Her protagonist Anna Bloom is likable and believable, but not too perfect; same goes for the rest of the characters. While she doesn't portray the hospital as a beacon of healing, she doesn't slam it too hard, and in fact at the end you feel that Anna's mental health has improved. However, you don't know for sure if that's because or in spite of the therapy. The main thing that Anna learns is how to be mad and be bad--two things that are vitally important for a young lady.
Tagged with mental hospitals
A year or two ago I read Stephanie Grant's Map of Ireland, which I liked and admired, but don't remember all that strongly, and I didn't like and admire it enough to seek out other books by Ms. Grant. That was dumb because The Passion of Alice, her first novel is the perfect balance of cerebral and engaging. It's about a 25 year old in treatment for anorexia.