When Hannah admitted to lying early in the book, I knew we couldn’t trust her. She is an unreliable narrator which makes it hard to tell what parts of her story are true.
“A cage is a cage is a cage.”
Accused of hurting her best friend and roommate Agnes, Hannah has been locked up for weeks and then months for a simple misunderstanding. She wonders if she will ever be free of her box. She must earn even the smallest privileges, such as leaving her room for lunch, and she’s struggling to earn those privileges. But Hannah is cunning, and she knows how to manipulate people. If she plays the game, she might get out sooner.
While I figured out what was going on early on, it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the story. A few of her days blend into each other, and it feels repetitive. But we see life through her eyes, so it makes sense. I recently became a fan of Sheinmel, and am working my way through her back catalog. I appreciate that she writes about mental illness because we need more books that realistically depict sufferers. A very enjoyable read.
A Danger to Herself and Others is available on Amazon for $1.99.
About the book:
Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She doesn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at that summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. Those college applications aren’t going to write themselves. Until then, she’s determined to win over the staff and earn some privileges so she doesn’t lose her mind to boredom.
Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage, and she’s the perfect project to keep Hannah’s focus off all she is missing at home. But Lucy may be the one person who can get Hannah to confront the secrets she’s avoiding—and the dangerous games that landed her in confinement in the first place.
Sheinmel admits that some aspects of the book might not seem believable. I think considering our narrator, that makes complete sense. Before I knew what was going on, I thought the same, and wasn’t happy with certain aspects. But as I said, because Hannah is unreliable, they have come together. So if you find yourself reading this and think some parts are just too far fetched, give it some time.