JoLene's Reviews > What She Left Behind

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman
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it was amazing
bookshelves: bc-jr, dual-story, historical-fiction, kindle, read-2016

4.5 stars

This is my Feb F2F book club pick, and I can say that I wasn't really super excited when I read the description. However, once I started, I read this in less than 48 hours. This is a dual story line following a troubled teenager, Izzy with a tragic past. She has just moved in with new foster parents, who happen to work at a museum. Her foster mom is involved in project where they are re-building stories from inmates of the Willard institution (a mental institution) from looking through suitcases found on the site. Izzy has mixed feelings because her mother was also diagnosed with mental illness. The second story is the story of Clara, one of the Willard patients; her suitcase contains photos, letters and journal.

The story is told in alternating chapters, and it's hard for me to say which story was the most compelling. The book deals with some tough subjects, especially around the treatment of the mentally ill in the early part of the 1920's and 1930's. The descriptions of Clara's life at Willard were heart-breaking, but very believable. Izzy's story was equally heart-breaking; however, Izzy is a strong girl and ultimately you feel like she will thrive.

I am deducting 1/2 a star because I really felt like there were too many tragedies in Izzy's story. (view spoiler) It is tough to say that I enjoyed the book because both stories were tragic, but I think it's a great read and I recommend it to people who like dual story-lines and historical fiction.
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Reading Progress

December 13, 2015 – Shelved
December 13, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
December 13, 2015 – Shelved as: bc-jr
January 28, 2016 – Started Reading
January 30, 2016 – Shelved as: dual-story
January 30, 2016 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
January 30, 2016 – Shelved as: kindle
January 30, 2016 – Finished Reading
January 1, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2016

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