Monday, February 10, 2020

Perfectly Poisoned Anthologies Presents: Asylum

This was a fascinating collection of stories that took place inside the Barrow Haven Asylum. While the majority of the residents seemed to come from upper class families and were often placed there by their families for a number of reasons, (one possible example: to hide an inconvenient pregnancy.) Some of the residents did have more serious problems. One common diagnosis for women was “hysteria.” Hysteria appears to have been a sort of catch-all diagnosis for pretty much any sort of behavior considered inappropriate by a husband or other family member, thus requiring a person to be hidden away from society until such behavior could be appropriately “corrected.”

Treatments were often cruel and quite painful. In today’s world, such “treatments” would more appropriately be called torture but were considered both normal and appropriate given the time period and the circumstances. While there were those working within the Asylum who honestly sought only to help and cure those placed within their care, there appeared to be just as many who seemed to relish the opportunity to hurt their charges. Clearly, if one had to be hidden away in an Asylum such as this one was, it paid to be among those in the wealthier class. They were generally better treated and able to afford much nicer rooms and more privileges.

I enjoyed reading about the many different men & women who resided within Barrow Haven, and I believe others will also enjoy the variety of tales told by the various authors who have participated in this collection. I know I was fascinated by the number of different reasons a man or woman could be confined in an institution such as Barrow Haven. Some were willingly residing there, while others had been forcibly confined for any number or reasons by their families

A few of the stories may be a touch more adult oriented than would be appropriate for younger readers, but then in general I don't believe this to be a collection intended for younger audiences.

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