Top 5 is a weekly bookish assessment by Gingerreadslainey and today’s feedback is 5 books with mental illness or health. You can also access the topics on the Goodreads Group. In addition, if you would like to read first hand experience concerning mental health, go over to Randoms by a Random every Friday. Now let us dive into it.
1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Mr. Rochester has an eye on Jane even to marry her but he has a secret: his wife Bertha, yes wife is hidden in a chamber upstairs. She is hidden because she is not entirely of sound mind, you may even call her mad. Although Grace Poole, the servant, cares for her, Bertha escapes a few times disturbing the air with her shrieking laughter. In addition, doing damage to a well intended dress, setting a certain someone on fire and attacking a guest at Thornfield Hall. Bertha stricks for the last time by burning Thornfield Hall and committing suicide [I hope this is not a severe spoiler for anyone who has not read the book].
2. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell
One day Iris Lockhart receives a call for the release of one Euphemia Lennox from a mental hospital after 60 years. It turns out Euphemia aka Esme is a great-aunt who Iris never knew existed. Esme does not know modern cars, planes or radio and the story digs deeper into the mystery of Esme admittance in the hospital and her family forgetting she existed. The reader learns of Esme different attitude in a posh society, she kept her hair long at 16 and one day she is discovered in the mirror in her mother’s clothes. This triggers a series of events into the mental capacity of not only Esme but her relations. On the other hand, Iris juxtaposes Esme situation with her life and she sees the same will to not conform to society and it is an eye opener for her when she digs for information at the mental hospital. On the other end of the spectrum Kitty, Esme’s sister has Alzheimer in a comfortable home not too far from Esme’s prison like hospital. Kitty struggles to come to term with her past in relation to Esme and the ending is thought provoking.
3. Simple Genius by David Baldacci
Barely surving a violent brawl in a bar that she started, Michelle agrees for treatment in a psychiatric institution. Horatio Barnes is the psycologist who performs the treatment sessions that digs in her childhood, trying to figure why Michelle is depressed and suicidal.He undercovers a mine field which Michelle unknowingly blocked a long time ago. Meanwhile her work partner Sean Kings decides to take a side job so he could stay close to Michelle and provide for their needs.He agrees to investigate the murder of Monk Turing at Babbage Town, a scientific mind zone. It is there he encounters Viggie Turing, daughter of Monk, she is a piano genius with autism, making it difficult for others to communicate with her. Against his better judgement, Sean allows Michelle to assist him with the case and she is able to connect with Vigie. Horatio now has the task to counsel both Viggie and Michelle, whilst Sean tries to decipher codes and spies and worrying about Michelle’s health.
4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
When Heathcliff leaves for a long time period, Cathy’s mental and physical health suffers from break downs. For a girl who roams the cold moors, pretentious illness or attitude may not aptly describe, Cathy’s long speechs/ raving. Consider also Heathcliff hallucinations for Cathy. In addition, both are not able to eat and/or refuse food. They both seem haunted, Heathcliff welcomes Cathy torment to his mental state, he begs her. On the other hand, Cathy seem plagued by the lack of Heathcliff’s presence. It is a raw and confusing story.
5. Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes
Trent offers an escape from an overbearing father and a small town, Penny takes it marrying Trent but soon he isolates her from her family, so he can exert his control. He begins his abuse of his wife just after their wedding. Trent appears contrite for all his acts of violence towards Penny by suddenly reappearing charming with two face apologies but its all an act. Penny blames herself for her failing marriage even dissecting how Trent’s childhood encouraged him to alcohol and anger. The author focuses on Penny’s physiological warfare, showing her depressed,alone and at times wanting to die. There are days she could barely get out of bed and she is pregnant. It is a powerful and engaging story, that I urge any women going through domestic abuse to read. Also, friends of someone going through domestic abuse should read the story as well. It takes you into the mind of an abused, shedding some light on why they stay in the relationship.
Have you read any of the above books, let me know what you think about them in the comment section. What books have you read with mental health/illness?