Updated: Oct 25, 2019
Title: A Danger to Herself and Others
Author: Alyssa B. Sheinmel
A Danger to Herself and Others is a psychological thriller that truly delves into the mind. In the book, the main character is institutionalized for suspicion of being involved in an accident involving her roommate. Despite this clear synopsis, you learn quickly not to take anything for granted as the reader.
It is a story told solely in the point-of-view of Hannah Gold, a confident and intelligent narrator. She has a very distinct voice that is one of the sole drivers of the story. But, as the tale unfolds, you start to see this strong character type unravel with every new page.
The author has a talent for making you question even the most basic "facts" in a way I've rarely experienced. The twist isn't a typical kind and is rather one that is baffling when you've spent so long in the narrator's head. The books formatting of parts is the perfect way to deliver the narrative.
There is an overuse of parenthesis that can, and sometimes does, break up the flow of the story. I did notice some small inconsistencies like how early in the book it states Hannah's roommate's younger sister came along when she was two years old but later it changes, "You were an only child for four years before your little sister came along."
Experience of the inpatient care was well done. It approached the rehabilitation with understanding and excluded any stigma that so many people in these positions face. The way the book delved into this kind of vulnerable situation was refreshing to see portrayed accurately in literature.
The author is a master at internalized thoughts and brings to life the age old conflict of man vs. self. She artfully gives small batches of information that manage the balance of not overloading the reader and instead compelling them to want to read more.
This author's language has a way of transporting you into the seemingly bland setting that comes to life in her capable hands. She manages to write the dynamics inside the facility well and in a way that prevents the story from seeming to drag on without a lot of external conflict.
Overall it's a very character based novel and less action-packed than competitors, but I would argue that is what makes it so good. You get to focus on the emotions and feelings of this character and completely immerse yourself in her world - no matter how twisting, turning, and unreliable it may be.