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The Illness Lesson

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  22 ratings  ·  9 reviews
A mysterious flock of red birds has descended over Birch Hill. Recently reinvented, it is now home to an elite and progressive school designed to shape the minds of young women. But Eliza Bell – the most inscrutable and defiant of the students – has been overwhelmed by an inexplicable illness.

One by one, the other girls begin to experience the same peculiar symptoms: rashe
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Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: February 6th 2020 by Doubleday
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  22 ratings  ·  9 reviews


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Eliza
As this book is not coming out for quite some time, I won’t reveal much about the plot or characters for those of you who are anticipating this novels release in February, 2020!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this before its publication.

Now, as the 2-star rating on Goodreads dictates, this book was “OK.”

The Illness Lesson is definitely an odd read, that I will say. I won’t uncover more on that, as I feel half of its oddness is what makes the book what it is.
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Talli
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Illness Lesson is a quiet, unassuming lesson on women and how society shapes and perceives them. The prose was beautiful and vivid, evoking imagery and universal themes. It’s a quick read, drawing you into a specific world both entirely grounded in our reality but also seemingly so far away from the world we live in. Set in the 19th century, this book asks the question of what a progressive woman might look like in that time and what roadblocks she might encounter. While not at the center of ...more
Csimplot Simplot
Excellent book!!!
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
This cover!! Wow!
Kendra
Aug 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
With the shadows and ghosts of the Alcotts and Louisa May Alcott's Little Women in particular populating its pages, this novel captures a brief span in a young woman's life during which her father, having been part of a failed self-sufficient utopia, decides to open a school. Recruiting a handful of girls for an experimental education, Caroline, her father Samuel, and teacher David embark on an adventure that turns sour as David's pious wife arrives, spoiling Caroline's hopes for a romance with ...more
Heather Fineisen
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
A small group of girls at a newly formed school come down with symptoms of an unknown origin. Examines females interacting with one another and the history of hysteria. This is a slow paced novel which raises the ethics of medical molestation and its effect on young women. The characters are well drawn although not readily likable. The subject matter is uncomfortable. Then there are the birds...a solid read.

Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
Amy
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
The Illness Lesson tries to be a lot of things – a book about women and the ways we have been suppressed by men; a story about school, and how women are often discouraged from thinking and questioning; a look at hysteria and one of the bizarre treatments men employed; an exploration of the connection between body and mind and how the fear of inheriting a disease can alter perceptions as well as personalities; a comment on education; an exploration of relationships between parents and children an ...more
Jenny
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“We were, I think, making girls for a world that does not exist.”

I found this book to be powerful and moving, despite its flaws. A fictionalized Amos Bronson Alcott figure, as selfish and inept as the real one, opens a school for girls with his daughter in Reconstruction America. Strange and unsettling things happen to the girls. Things that are still happening 150 years later.

My main criticism of this book is that the girls are thinly-drawn and mere passengers in their own narrative.. An argum
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Cathe Olson
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Definitely an odd book that seemed to go in several different directions--It starts with a man and his daughter starting a school to educate women--not just in the art of being a wife but actually educating them like a "man." But then there is a big focus on the daughter of a man the father hates and how to reign her in. But then the focus changes to the mysterious illness that befalls the females. And then there's the whole female "hysteria" thing and the bizarre treatment. And onto an abrupt e ...more
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