Read Love in the Asylum by Lisa Carey Online


From an author whose work has been called 'haunted and joyous and heartbreaking all at once' (Washington Post Book World) comes an unforgettable novel of two lost souls who find love and salvation against all odds.Can love save those who believe they are beyond redemption? In and out of a swank north–eastern rehab centre more than a dozen times in ten years, Alba Elliot, aFrom an author whose work has been called 'haunted and joyous and heartbreaking all at once' (Washington Post Book World) comes an unforgettable novel of two lost souls who find love and salvation against all odds.Can love save those who believe they are beyond redemption? In and out of a swank north–eastern rehab centre more than a dozen times in ten years, Alba Elliot, a 25–year–old children's book writer and manic–depressive, believes she is a hopeless case. But an unlikely relationship with Oscar, a 30–year–old drug addict whose 'recreation' has cost him everything, and a century–old story hidden in the institution's library bring about changes that Alba could never have imagined.Brought together by fate, influenced by forces as beautiful and powerful as they are unforeseen, Alba and Oscar will slowly rise from the ashes of despair and self–destruction and, in the midst of righting an old wrong, begin to heal their battered spirits. A beautifully crafted, heartfelt tale of tragedy and triumph, Lisa Carey's moving third novel is a testament to the surprising resilience of the human heart....

Title : Love in the Asylum
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780060937430
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Love in the Asylum Reviews

  • Aiyana
    2018-09-16 12:11

    I really enjoyed this novel, which has aspects of mystery and romance, but is ultimately simply a story about human experience. Alba-- a young woman with severe bipolar disorder-- befriends Oscar, a drug addict, during their stay at a mental health clinic. Despite their initial suspicion of one another, they also experience a strong mutual attraction that draws them together. Alba also becomes immersed in the story of a woman who was at the clinic many years before, whose unsent letters she finds hidden in the clinic's library.This book speaks to both the practical and spiritual aspects of the experiences that we consider "mental illness," as well as different cultural interpretations of those experiences. Rather than prioritizing one viewpoint over the other, Carey addresses the fact that both the soul and body may need different kinds of treatments in order for a person to reach a state of "mental health." The book includes a disturbing look at the history of "treatments" imposed on the mentally ill and makes a strong argument for respecting the human dignity and subjective experiences of patients, no matter how much they have lost touch with reality.Quotes:"For all my life, sleeping has been a simple joy. I lay my head down-- where does not seem to matter, strange beds do not affect me-- and I fall, slowly but firmly, away from the world. When I was a child, I believed that I left my body when I slept. I could feel it, the sensation of separating from my heavy limbs on the mattress. I seemed to fall out of myself, through the bed and into the land of my dreams, which, though sometimes frightening, were always spectacular, and seemed to make more sense to me than the world I stummbled through while awake." - From one of Mary's letters, p 67"Her libido (Dr. Miller's word; to Alba is sounds suggestively reptilian) for years now has been, at best, unreliable. Depression renders sex unimaginable, mania leaves it unsatisfying, medication makes it impossible. Alba has come to think of her sex drive as a visitor who knowcks so infrequently, she often doesn't think to open the door."Attraction, for Alba, has become something that occurs only in her mind... Men have been known to say things to Alba that cause small, savory explosions in her thoughts-- a mental version of an orgasm." p 76

  • Sarah
    2018-08-27 12:02

    Alba is crazy. She's been institutionalized off and on since she was fifteen. Oscar is an addict. He doesn't believe he's hit rock bottom or think that his using of drugs is a problem. These two people meet when both are committed to Abenaki Hospital in rural Maine. From their first meeting, a spark of something that could take them both beyond their troubles appears. Is it possible to find love in the asylum?This book was not quite what I expected as I got further into it. Alba and Oscar are both very real and interesting characters, but I found the story's strength in the intertwining narrative of Mary X. At first, I was put off by what I saw as an intrusion in the story of Alba and Oscar but soon, I changed my tune. The Mary X story was incredibly unique and interesting and, I think, ended up a stronger story than that of Alba and Oscar. I was happy that Alba stumbled upon Mary X's story and used it to propel her own story further. Well done, but lacks some polish. Will probably read other Lisa Carey in the future.

  • Ana
    2018-08-29 13:20

    I actually really liked this book. If you're into addictions or psychology at all you'll enjoy it. Love in the Asylum would have received 5 stars from me if only for one element were removed, even modified. I was completely uninterested with the storyline about the woman writing the letters in the backs of books, and her whole story. It was interesting at the beginning, but quickly became boring. If her storyline had been tied in a little better, or cut down a little, it would have worked much better with the rest of the book. I found Oscar completely intriguing and Alba interesting, and if the book had focused solely on them it would have been phenomenal.

  • shalla
    2018-09-10 09:10

    I was really shocked with this book, I usually go to the library with a list, Ive done the research, Ive read the first chapter on google books..Ive read all the ratings and reviews here at good reads, because I dont do well picking up a book randomely like that, Ive read to many baaad books that way..but I was unable to go to the library prepared, but I thought, thats ok...grabbing a Jodi Picoult is usually my book club book, and Im finishing a few series..but I walked by this one and just decided to try it out, and it was GREAT! great story, great characers...I really enjoyed it.

  • meredith ann
    2018-08-31 12:12

    well, i liked this book. i certainly didn't love it. i felt equally engrossed in both oscar & alba's stories and the letters from the library. when those began intertwining, the story dropped off a bit for me. the ending felt rushed, like "here's the conclusion, yay, the end!" don't get me wrong, i appreciated the direction the characters took at the novel's end but it felt a bit too perfect. all in all, a good read.

  • Lavonne
    2018-09-05 09:06

    I liked this book and I'm not even sure why. It tells the love story of an addict and a bi-polar inmate, parralled by old letters from a woman who was institutionalized in the same asylum many years before. It questions the line between spriituality and sanity, and suggests that perhaps the two are not that far apart.

  • Madeline
    2018-09-01 10:17

    I really think I love this book. A lot. It has that past mystery aspect that always grabs me, the story was so captivating and the characters incredibly likable. Their afflictions were really backseat to the strength of their personalities and the story, only serving as vehicles for the plots advancement. A sad and beautiful narrative, exactly what I was in the mood for.

  • Stephanie
    2018-09-17 13:05

    I loved this book. At the time that I read I was working with mentally ill patients and so I created images for all the characters in the book from my clients. The book totally captivated me, it was so visual and real. Every night when I went to read it was like I was going back to a real place and time.

  • Erica
    2018-08-30 15:59

    I've read this book at least twice, and each time I get sucked into it. The characters are so real and moving that I can't help crying at parts, right along with them. This book really touched me, and I'd recommend it to almost anyone.

  • Susan
    2018-09-03 16:19

    I just happened upon one of this author's books, then I read all I could find. I can't wait until she writes more!

  • Catherine
    2018-09-08 09:09

    I found this book to be both a sad and an interesting read. There is so much sadness in this story, sexual abuse, mental health, mothers displaced from their children, addiction, to name the most compelling. While at the same time there is love, the human desire to help others, the healing act of writing, and the ever present feeling of hopefulness. The story reads like a story within a story, pealing back layers from both simultaneously until the two are joined. The author describes the ravages of mental health and addiction battles accurately and compassionately. I really enjoyed the connection to the past and also the Native American portion of the storyline. The story gave credence to the cultural identity of native Americans and the healers in their society. I gave this 5 stars as it was an artfully told story of the human experience and I really enjoyed it

  • Peggy
    2018-08-30 09:52

    At first I wasn't completely in love with this book. It seemed like it was going to be like any other book about people with mental illness or addictions. It redeemed itself the further I read. I especially like how the story of the patient from the past was interwoven with the current story happening between Oscar and Alba.Oscar is a classic example of someone not addressing their true issues, opting instead to drown them under drug use. Alba is suppressed under a "well-meaning" father, having had mental instability for most of her life. Is this an inherited sickness from her mother, or a side effect of not being able to truly live? Oddly enough it appears that Oscar and Alba need each other to be able to finally face their demons once and for all. Mary was a patient at the asylum many years ago when treatments were more torture than helpful and she was locked away by an unloving husband and was never allowed to see her children again. Her story and ultimately even the story of her son is a sad one, and from it Alba learns to see a bit of the truth in her own situation.

  • Linda
    2018-09-12 13:08

    It took more than 100 pages for this to get going but when it did I could not put it down. We begin in present day with Alba, a young woman who has been in and out of Abenaki Mental Hospital for the past 10 years. Alba is tired of being crazy. Enter Oscar, a 30 year old drug addict enrolled in the rehab program. A connection sparks between the two. One day Alba finds letters written, but never sent, at the back of the hospital library books. Written 70 years earlier by a woman committed to the hospital by her husband Alba begins to set her hopes on a different kind of medicine. So many emotions surfaced here. Deep sadness for the misdiagnosed women,joy for the triumphs of others and admiration for the courage and determination each of the characters found within themselves. Well worth your time.

  • Margaret
    2018-09-07 08:03

    Alba, 25, has been admitted yearly for 10 years & is currently diagnosed with panic disorder. When Oscar is admitted, they bond immediately, each sensing the possibility of something positive in their lives. Alba then discovers letters written by a patient in the 1930s that were never mailed. The woman, part Abenaki Indian, was a "healer," & her seizures gave her abusive husband the grounds to have her committed. Alba becomes obsessed with the letters this woman wrote to her son up until her death in 1942, & enlists Oscar's help in delivering them to their intended recipient. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~Enjoyed the "double" story line of the past and the present. This story had a bittersweet flavor that I was rather in the mood for ... I thought it was well-written.

  • Tracy
    2018-08-30 07:54

    I rarely write reviews but I thought I should with this book. This review is as much about the author as the book itself. This is the second book I have read by Lisa Carey, the first being The Mermaids Singing that I randomly picked up for $.50 at a library sale. I loved it and bought this book immediately after. Love in the Asylum will make you feel so many different emotions and also make you question what the reality was for some of the characters in this book. I can't go into detail without spoilers, so I won't. While reading this book it was almost like reading three biographies at once, the characters seem so real. This book is a quick read and Lisa Carey is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. I will be reading her book In the County of the Young very soon.

  • Rena Sherwood
    2018-08-26 10:18

    I read this book years ago because of the Van Gogh on the cover. I have a thing for Van Gogh. So sue me. And crazy people. I have a thing for crazy people since I'll probably be sectioned in the near future (which may not necessarily stop me posting at Goodreads.)Sadly, the book had nothing to do with Van Gogh. Although it did have crazy people. Other than not having Van Gogh in it but having crazy people, it's a thoroughly unremarkable book. It's like a really REALLY long prose poem.

  • Caroline
    2018-09-13 15:17

    Even better the second time around. I've read all of Carey's books and I admire her so much as an author. Reading her bio on the back flap makes me envious of her life as a writer--I think I want to be her when I grow up!The layered storylines, feminist/historic treatment of mental illness, and characterization are absolutely wonderful in "Love in the Asylum." Carey writes characters whose inner-voices are so brutally honest that they make me squirm at the familiarness (trust me, this non-word just works better than "familiarity" for what I'm trying to convey here) and her characters' relationships with one another are absolutely vibrant.A must-read for anyone who loves the craft of writing a good story and a good character.

  • Deanna Brown
    2018-09-09 15:57

    Love in the Asylum was an easy, enjoyable read that I finished within two days. I'll admit I've always been fascinated with stories who center around a mental institution, and this was no exception. I won't give much away, but I will say that the character of Alba was nicely developed, and Oscar became an entirely sympathetic character by the end. On top of this I absolutely love multi-generational stories, and this one was no exception. The aged letters Alba find add a level of depth to the story, as did the mystery of Mary's spiritual beliefs.In summary, I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in character-focused stories that contain a bit of history, women's rights, and Aboriginal culture. Very cool.

  • Emily
    2018-09-12 13:09

    The whole feel of this book was moving, without being overly dramatic. It was almost like reading two stories in one because of the "letters". It made me realize the injustice that a lot of women must have went through in an era where locking your "crazy" wife away was an acceptable act. Watching two people trying to work through their feelings of "crazy/addiction" and of "love" towards each other at the same was really interesting. The sarcastic bantering between the characters was very witty, fun, and needed. It helped lighten the tone of the book just enough to make it more of an enjoyable read.I had a hard time putting it down, great book.

  • Andrea
    2018-08-31 14:59

    I had bought this book at a garage sale for .50 cents along with a few others and I thought, what the heck. So, after reading a book about female purity in Haiti, I thought I'd pick up something like to read. Man, was I wrong. It's not exactly heavy, but it's also not light. It's about addiction, mental illness, and mystical shamanism. Not what I expected and had the writer not been refreshingly good, I would have put it down. Again, the subject of this book was not my taste, but the other really drew you in, which I find is lacking now a days. So I do recommend this book to people who don't expect to like it. I'll most likely check out more of the author's books.

  • Erin Coleman
    2018-08-30 12:09

    I absolutely adored reading about the relationship between Alba and Oscar, and all of Alba's backstory. If the book centered completely around these two characters it could have been a five star book, easy. However, I didn't enjoy the sections with the woman's letters to her son as much, and as the book went on it seemed to dominate more and more of it. I found myself rolling my eyes every time I saw another passage of it, and reading through as fast as I could to get back to the characters I was enjoying so much more.

  • Amanda
    2018-09-23 11:03

    Being both an addict AND a bi polar, I almost had no choice but to deeply connect with this beautifully written novel. And then there was the addtional subject matter of an Indian healer/shaman/Persephone journeying to the land of the dead. I didn't want the story to end. I don't know if it was the theme or the writing that crept into my soul. Perhaps I'll have to read Lisa Careys other works to determine the answer. The book also captures writers dreams. Alba already published. And Oscar published because of his own well defined voice and point of view.

  • Zoe
    2018-09-13 10:07

    I positively gobbled this book up. It was well written with thought-provoking characters and situations. This is the story about two rehab patients who meet while struggling with their respective problems -- alcoholism and combination of manic depression. Interwoven throughout is the discovered letters of a patient from decades earlier, forming a love story between mother and child. It is a powerful story of overcoming the evils your mind puts upon you, and therefore resonates deeply with me. Highly recommended. And I am determined to be Lisa Carey when I grow up.

  • Heidi
    2018-09-20 16:18

    3.5 stars. intriguing yet utterly depressing subject matter. and it's not necessarily a love story rather more of a survival story. several recurring themes throughout the book= hero/savior characters, parent/children relationships, treatment of mental illness/addiction both modern and historically. my favorite character was oscar as he seemed the most realistic. the end was wrapped up too nicely and abruptly. i actually picked this book up off the shelf on a whim, which i never do and i was pleasantly surprised. the writing style of the book is the best part.

  • LindaBranham Greenwell
    2018-08-30 12:21

    I really liked/enjoyed this bookIt is the story of two wounded people who meet in an asylum. One with a mental illness, one with an addiction.Alba discovers letters hidden in a book ... and the information in the letters become a quest and a life changing experience for both of them.I like Lisa Carey's fanciful way of writing... there is always a hint of the mystical as an undercurrent flowing beneath the surface

  • Leahlady
    2018-09-12 09:15

    This book had a lot of different stories going on, woven together, but was still easy to read, easy to follow. I think she tried a little to hard to tie up all the loose ends at the very end, which takes away a little from the credibility. A lot of people might say the book was not credible anyway (because of the almost super-natural Native Indian Shaman/schizophrenic/epileptic healers) but I really liked it.

  • Kat
    2018-09-10 08:58

    I picked this book up on a whim and wasn't really expecting much. I loved the character of Alba, and I feel the depiction of mental illness was spot on. There was also a mythical element to the story, and I'm glad the author left it up to the reader to decide whether the magic was real or not. The traditional sappy ending was sort of obvious, but in a warm happy way that I was satisfied with. I highly recommend this book.

  • Christine Christman
    2018-09-03 09:00

    A haunting but captivating story. I was impressed by the thin line the author drew between sanity and madness and the compassion she portrays for her characters. How sad that women were so easily dismissed as crazy when what they needed was self-exploration and the resources to find their own way. I felt that she also made the statement that this continues today in more subtle ways than we mIght realize.

  • Kris Bueche
    2018-09-23 10:17

    OK, so it's just your typical recovering addict boy meets bipolar girl while locked up in Abenacki Hospital. It's a cutsie story that has some dark spots. The secondary story that Alba reads through letters is very interesting and sad. I loved the contrast between the past patients experience and the current experience - it shows both how far we've come and how far we still need to go in working with mental illness.

  • Debbi
    2018-09-10 12:21

    A drug addict and a manic/depressive whose also suicidal get together in a 5 star rehab/asylum type hospital. Besides their budding relationship, the girl, the manic/depressive, also discovers letters from a mother to her son that were written in the backs of old library books. These letters tell the story of her life in the asylum which is kind of interesting. Overall couldn't give it more than two stars.