My brother and I were at the hospital, waiting our mom’s knee surgery when I started Shutter Island. Little bro looked at my book and exclaimed, “Crap...moreMy brother and I were at the hospital, waiting our mom’s knee surgery when I started Shutter Island. Little bro looked at my book and exclaimed, “Crap! The movie was total crap and I figured everything out five minutes into it. Do you want me to tell you the secret?” Of course I didn’t want to know the ending before I got there myself. This story follows U.S.Marshal Chris Monsanto Teddy Daniels as he travels to an island which is home to nothing but a possibly dangerous and experimental penitentiary for the “criminally insane.” Of course subjects are broached such as paranoia, unreliable narrator, chemical and physical restraints, true mental illness vs. mind games initiated to cause insecurity. Although I never saw the movie, the previews seemed to imply a spooky, paranormal aspect which was sadly missing from the book.
It’s hard to review this one without giving away spoilers. Dennis Lehane did an outstanding job of blurring the line between fantasy and reality and causing the reader to feel just as unsettled as Teddy did. Although the book kept up a suspenseful and steady pace (it sort of had to, seeing as it only covered four days) there were many extended dream sequences and past remembrances which hindered, rather than helped the story. Finally, when it got to the actual practices and therapies of the doctors and wardens on the island I was slightly disappointed. Granted, this book took place years ago when mental health treatment was not what it is today. None the less, I can’t help feeling that so much of the psychiatric techniques were more an invention of Lehane’s than based on actual practices. For me that took away from the realness and shock of the it all.
Overall, I’m glad to have read this and am looking forward to finally watching the movie. But I can’t say I will venture into more of Lehane’s works. Without the creepy, suspenseful, paranoia aspect this wasn’t really my sort of story or writing style. It’s nothing I can really put into words, at least not now after only one cup of coffee ;) Even so, I do recommend this book, despite my brother proclaiming the movie total crap. (less)
Meh. Lots of novels from the 1960's and 1970's hold up, albeit in a nostalgic and kitschy way. This one most definitely did not though. Everything abo...moreMeh. Lots of novels from the 1960's and 1970's hold up, albeit in a nostalgic and kitschy way. This one most definitely did not though. Everything about it was ridiculous, from Lisa's manifestation of mental illness, to her friends, to the adults to the writing. Speaking of which, the writing was all tell and absolutely no show.
If this had ever been made into a cheesy movie, that is a movie I would absolutely love to see. But the novel version is simply bad and painful beyond words. Skip this one. (less)