Thursday, August 11, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date is August 30, 2016.

Natalie Roman isn’t much for the spotlight. But performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a stately old theatre in Savannah, Georgia, beats sitting alone replaying mistakes made in Athens. Fairy queens and magic on stage, maybe a few scary stories backstage. And no one in the cast knows her backstory. Except for Lucas—he was in the psych ward, too. He won’t even meet her eye. But Nat doesn’t need him. She’s making friends with girls, girls who like horror movies and Ouija boards, who can hide their liquor in Coke bottles and laugh at the theater’s ghosts. Natalie can keep up. She can adapt. And if she skips her meds once or twice so they don’t interfere with her partying, it won’t be a problem. She just needs to keep her wits about her.

This book was not what I thought it would be. I thought I was getting a book about a girl struggling with mental illness and struggling with whether to reveal that information to her friends, especially after she meets a guy (Lucas) who was in the same psych ward. First of all, Natalie takes medication for schizophrenia despite the fact that she doesn't actually seem to have it. This is NOT a spoiler because it's revealed within the first 10% of the book, but Natalie started hallucinating after she took some ecstasy. That's it. She took some drugs and flipped out. There were no hallucinations before that and none after, but sure, let's give her some drugs. Did Natalie have to go to any kind of therapy. Nope, of course not. And people with schizophrenia generally see a therapist as well. 

Now Natalie's grandmother is suffering from the disease. I can understand why they would be concerned about Natalie having it, BUT SHE DIDN'T. Her grandmother also refused to take her medication and she was a handful. She would insult the family and accuse Natalie's mom of trying to poison her, etc. This would have been a MUCH BETTER book if the author had focused on her grandmother's illness and Natalie's worries that she was going to get it. So Natalie's grandmother definitely has the disease and she never takes her meds. What does everyone do about that? Not a damn thing. They don't try to get her to take her meds AT ALL and they never try to make her see any kind of doctor. Natalie's parents basically acted as if her grandmother was just old and there was nothing they could do. To make it worse, Natalie's dad worked all the time so Natalie's mom had to stay home and take care of her by herself. She couldn't even work because someone needed to be home with her. That was irritating.

The whole relationship thing with Lucas was ridiculous. It came out of nowhere and they had no chemistry. Then Natalie starts seeing ghosts or something and of course no one believes her and no one sees what she does. But I was confused because some people did believe in ghosts and no one thought they were crazy. And the ending was just . . . it was just wrong, that's what it was. I have the spoiler in my Goodreads review (it is hidden just in case you don't want to see it), so if you're interested you can check it out here.

It just bugged me that Natalie's family was super concerned about her and kept track of her meds and lectured her when she didn't pay attention to possible side effects and yet they did NOTHING about the grandmother. That was all kinds of wrong. It really just seemed like the schizophrenia diagnosis was a convenient plot device that was brought out because the author needed more conflict. I don't like that. I was not a fan of this one.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip it.

8 comments :

  1. Huh yeah that sounds all kind of messed up. The family situation sounds like it doesn't have their priorities in order at all. I do think I will skip this one!! Great review!

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    1. Thanks Grace! Good call on skipping it. :)

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  2. Well, I'm confused. I feel like this book is all over the place. You're right to warn us about it.

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  3. Oh man, I went and checked your spoiler. That plot point just made this book one to avoid for me, along with everything else you described above.

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    1. Verushka, I know, right?? That was just crazy!

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  4. WHAT. EVEN?! Okay, I mean, as someone who is like, right now running a mental health event... NO. I read the spoiler and now I am even MORE mad. Like... I get the whole being worried because of Grandma, but if no one is taking Grandma seriously, why the hell are they being so ridiculous with the kid? And why didn't anyone address the fact that the ILLEGAL STREET DRUG probably had something to do with it all!? And the spoiler... man, I am still shaking my head about that. Mental Health is not a plot device, people. GAH thank you for the warning about this one, fabulous review as always!

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    1. Okay Shannon, I swear I thought I replied to your comment but apparently, I didn't. Shame on me! But I absolutely LOVE your event and I thought of your event as I was reading this book. I know how passionately you feel about mental health in books (rightfully so) and I knew you would hate it as much as I did. I mean, the whole thing was just CRAZY. I swear, I don't even know why I actually kept reading it. I would have LOVED a moving portrayal of a family dealing with a grandmother's illness and a daughter who was scared of inheriting it. THAT would be a much more worthwhile story.

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