The Medea Complex By Rachel Florence Roberts

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About:  This book takes place in the 19th century at “The Bethlem Asylum”,  (psychiatric hospital) and takes you into the mind of a young woman, (Anne Stanbury) who is diagnosed with, “Puerperal insanity”.  In the beginning of the book, the author shows how Anne has no memory of  why she is in the asylum.  She believes that she has been kidnapped.  The book shows the transformation that Anne goes through, first having no memory of what led her to insanity to then her memory returns and she remembers why she is in the hospital.  She then is able to get well and leave the asylum with her husband.  Also in the book, you see and understand the other viewpoints and feelings of Anne’s actions the others who are close to Anne.  The book also includes the viewpoints and thoughts of Anne’s doctor.  You learn about his diagnosis of Anne and his thoughts of what caused her insanity.  The book also shows the doctor’s treatments for Anne and how other nurses at the asylum treat Anne during her stay.

I think this was a great book.  This book was an easy page turner.  There were many twists, turns and unexpected plot surprises.  The author did much research about the time period and research of mental illness.  The author did a great job showing how things were different in the 19th century in terms of some inhumane treatments, their different thoughts of mental illness compared to today.  The author did a good job going into the mind of Anne-the insane individual and with showing Anne’s growth towards remembering what drove her insane and how she then became sane.  I liked how the author also showed the others affected by Anne’s insanity and of what Anne’s doctor thought.  The book clearly showed how the different nurses viewed an insane person, which affected how they treated Anne; some displaying inhumane treatments, and also there were some kindhearted nurses that treated Anne with dignity.  This book was a good read and this book would appeal to woman and maybe some men.  I am a social worker so this book was of interest to me.  I have learned about how mental illness was understood in different time periods to where the knowledge of mental illness including the diagnosis and treatments grew in a positive way of a more humane treatment of individuals with mental illness.  Pick up this book and see what you think of this book!

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