Sunday, June 20, 2010

Book Review: But Inside I'm Screaming

I just finished reading But Inside I'm Screaming by Elizabeth Flock, and I'm kind of undecided about it.

The book is about a TV news anchor named Isabelle who suffers a psychotic break on the air and ends up in a mental institution. Throughout the story you learn more about her history: her alcoholic no-show father, her physically abusive high school boy friend, her emotionally and physically abusive husband, her divorce, her job.

It's an interesting story, that much is certain. I guess I'm just unsure of whether or not I liked it because it was almost a little TOO real. I got sucked into Isabelle's story enough to be really unsettled by her experience with Electroshock therapy. Her disgust with and fear of the idea of undergoing that treatment when she hadn't even yet accepted there was anything wrong with her was palpable and disturbing. So, if realism is what the author was going for, I'd say she hit the nail on the head.

I'm also not pleased with the ending. I wanted more satisfaction from it. I wanted to read about her finalizing her divorce with her jerk of a husband. I wanted a "Then Isabelle walked off into the sunset" kind of ending. Instead the author ends it with her telling her group therapy com padres that she's leaving the next day. That's it. You have to take the rest on faith, and in truth it just kind made of me angry. Like, "What the heck did I just read all this for???? All this depressing and unsettling journey for nada? Nothing? GEEZE!"

At least I didn't chuck the book across the room, though that may just be from lack of the energy to actually do so. So yeah, that's what I think about this book. Humph.


Tammie said...

ok, i only have a few minutes before True Blood comes on so i have to make this quick, but this was a GREAT review.

im always sort of undecided when a books ending doesnt offer enough closure. on the one hand, its realistic. but sometimes, i feel like its just laziness on the part of the author, masquerading as realism. if that makes sense. sometimes im just left wondering if the author got bored with her own story and thats when she decided to end it.

Theresa said...

Tammie, I know right? The author of this book literally gives you nothing. Not even a HINT about how Isabelle's future outside the institution might turn out. You don't even get to read about her actually leaving it. I don't think I'd recomend this book to anyone. It's more like a "read at your own risk" kind of book.