Unraveled: Her Reality Is Surreality is the latest book by Meg Kimball. It’s young adult fantasy fiction, which is definitely breaking out of my usual box, but Meg is a blogger buddy of mine so I wanted to check it out.
The book opens in 16th century France with a pregnant young woman being assaulted by her mother. The book then shifts to the “here and now”, where we meet 16-year-old Marilyn, who is in the emergency room after overdosing on pills. She is then transferred to an adolescent inpatient psychiatry unit and diagnosed with schizophreniform disorder. Much of the story is set on the inpatient unit, although the shifts between different time periods and settings continue throughout the book and form an important part of the story.
The staff on the unit represent some of the unhelpful types that can unfortunately be found all too often in mental health care, seen through the lens of a teenage girl who tells it like she sees it.
Marilyn can be delightfully awkward, coming out with lines like “Let me be your toilet paper.” On the inpatient unit, Marilyn becomes friendly with several other co-patients. As the book continues, it becomes clear that none of the characters are what they originally seem. There is an unexpected twist at the end that leaves the reader wondering what was real and what wasn’t.
The book is very visually descriptive, and I had to laugh at the mention of Marilyn’s chestnut hair, as pretty much any story I wrote when I was a kid was graced by chestnut hair. The descriptive detail helps to really bring the characters to life.
While this is a work of fiction, there are elements of real life slipped into the story. Parts of the book are more comical, while deeper issues like parent-child abuse are also tackled. The lead character is quirky in a likeable way, and the book makes for an interesting read.
You can find Meg on her author page Meg Kimball.
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