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Search tags: Mental-Illness
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review 2019-10-06 22:07
It Happens in the Dark - Carol O'Connell
[(It Happens in the Dark)] [By (author) ... [(It Happens in the Dark)] [By (author) Carol O'Connell] published on (September, 2013) - Carol O'Connell

Something of a black comedy: all theatrical effects, pun intended. A Broadway play turned deadly has Mallory managing to rope everyone into working the case. Entertaining, of course, but also O'Connor succeeds at pulling in reference to every Broadway story I can think of. The end result is perhaps less of a puzzle to solve and more of a dazzling performance. Vicious fun.

Library copy

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review 2019-10-03 22:30
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? - Henry Farrell

Even though I've seen the film a few times when I saw this book available to download at my local library, I clicked! I'm glad I did.


This wasn't exactly like the film, but in all the important ways, it was about the same. I pictured the characters as Joan Crawford and Bette Davis portrayed them, and I think the narrator did a fantastic job.




*Thanks to my local library for the free download through the Libby app! Libraries RULE!*

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review 2019-10-03 20:34
Graphic novel about the teenage Dahmer; depicts a disturbed individual in an environment that helped create a monster
My Friend Dahmer - Derf Backderf

This meticulously drawn graphic novel about Jeffrey Dahmer as a high schooler is a haunting portrait of a disturbed individual in his formative years and it depicts how the environment that he grew up in helped create one of the most notorious serial killers in recent memory.

The author-artist is fellow Dahmer classmate Derf Backderf, who proves how hindsight can be 20/20, recognizing all the disturbing behaviors and situations upon reflection, and after Dahmer's ghastly murders were committed. Derf has pieced together the timeline for the graphic novel with help from Dahmer's father's novel and other records, used recollections from other classmates, and paints a picture of Dahmer that is both shocking and in many ways sympathetic.

If there was ever a playbook for creating or spotting a serial killer Derf shows how Dahmer 'checks all the boxes': a disturbed mind and untreated mental illness, teenage alcoholism, isolated in a small town in an era when school had few rules, dysfunction at home where parents go through a nasty divorce, mother has her own mental health problems, dad is oblivious to his son's issues, Dahmer doesn't fit in at school and is bullied by some of his peers, repressed sexual urges and closeted homosexuality, interest in dead animals and roadkill, collection of animal carcasses, his apathy and lack of emotion. So many warning signs. So little done to step in.

Derf asks at one point 'Where were all the adults?' but he also recognizes that this was a different decade, a different era, and remarks that even his teachers would comment on rolling their own joints, and obviously turned a blind eye to a drunk Dahmer every day. There's also a point where, after Dahmer's first murder, thanks to shoddy police work, he SHOULD have been caught. Today, we have our eyes open to all sorts of new concerns, and schools have zero tolerance for any substance use and keep an eye out for mental health problems and bullying.

This is a tragic tale, but I appreciate that Derf told it the way he did (even with the adolescent ignorance involved) and that the movie adaptation happened. May another horrific set of crimes, or such a troubled individual, never come out of a similar circumstance again.

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review 2019-09-29 17:17
The Day of St. Anthony's Fire - John Grant Fuller Jr.
The Day of St. Anthony's Fire - John Grant Fuller Jr.

Heartbreaking and Truly Terrifying.


I was sitting around the supper table with my family discussing theories about the Salem Witch Trials. The ergot theory was put forward, and I dismissed it, largely because of the scale: hundreds of people accused, tortured, and tried over more than a year, but also because the initial accusers would roll around on the floor in seeming fits but immediately recover, and none of them suffered anything like an actual injury during those supposed fits. Then the Spouse mentions that French town, you know...


I did not know. I had never previously heard of the book nor the incident it describes in well-researched, well-documented, and well-communicated detail. In August of 1951 some three hundred people in and around Pont-Saint-Esprit in Provence, France were poisoned. It was a horrible accident that killed five people,hospitalized more than a hundred, and caused many to suffer lasting debilitation.


As a medical mystery, it is enthralling. All the local GPs as well as the large number of treating physicians from the nearest largest cities agreed they were seeing an event out of history a mass poisoning due to ergot. They had to look in history books to get treatment ideas.


Then there's the legal mystery: who are what will be blamed and have to pay? The investigators had quickly found the suspect flour, but then there were years of examining the evidence. The police couldn't accept the ergot theory because the volatile alkaloids disappeared too quickly and too completely. There was literally no evidence. The legal wrangling that followed lasted a decade.


It's a fascinating book for those interested in medical or historical mysteries. Fuller is thorough in his recounting, but never boring. Since I didn't have Truly Terrifying, I took advantage of that black dust jacket for


Library copy



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review 2019-09-15 21:21
The Woo-Woo: How I survived ice hockey, demons, drug raids, and my crazy Chinese family - Lindsay Wong
Woo-Woo, The - Lindsay Wong

First: not enough hockey. Or at least, hockey makes a brief and violent appearance (of course!) but then it disappears. I'd have liked to see it mentioned again, if only to update whether it had any appeal of any kind ever again.


Second: both weirder and not as weird as I anticipated. The demons turn out to be ghosts but not in the way I'm used to thinking of them. The drug raids are very strange, but serve well as humorous anecdotes: unexpected details really go against stereotypes. 


Third: see? my parenting isn't that bad. Actually, maybe it is that bad. Maybe there's a memoir coming about how weird it was to grow up with me.


Mostly I think my problem is I kind of expected it to be the stuff of sitcom, you know, zany. It's not zany. It's sad and distressing, which is really not how I had planned to focus my Halloween reading. Although to be fair, I suppose bad parenting really is horrific.   


I can't wait to see what the next book is about, though.              


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