Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Wildthorn

Wildthorn - Jane Eagland Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.Louisa Cosgrove wants nothing more than to become a doctor like her father. Being that she lives in 1800s England, this is difficult because women still have their entire lives decided by the men in their lives and no medical school will take in women because they should be learning the womanly arts instead. She is on her way to the house of someone she will be acting as a companion and she is instead taken to Wildthorn Hall, an insane asylum. Treated as just another lunatic, Louisa struggles to keep sane and make someone believe that this is all a mistake and that she does not belong here while with the way she is acting, it only seems more and more like she does need a place among the residents and hellish halls of Wildthorn Hall.I bought this book because someone I practically worship because of her literary critic skills and our similar reading tastes was gushing over this book. When I got it, I had no idea of the adult content in this novel except for one detail about Louisa that later emerges as a plot twist (and that was only because someone spoiled it for me a day after I bought the book). This novel is outside of my reading tastes in multiple ways and if I had not bought it blind, I would have passed this over for another novel. Thank God for going in blind because this novel was worth it!I loved Louisa as a character. She was layered, had her flaws (impulsive to the extreme), and had her screwups. I felt for her when she tried to convince her doctor and the attendants that she wasn't crazy, she didn't belong there, and that her name was Louisa, not Lucy, but each time she did so, it made her seem more and more like a lunatic. That was quite the trap she was caught in and quite realistic. I can't begin to imagine how many other women were caught in the same hellish trap back then. Her plights were entirely sympathetic because none of them were truly her fault. She wanted to be who she wanted to be, not who everyone else wanted her to be.What makes this story so terrifying is the reality of it. Men could easily have the women in their life locked up in the insane asylum for reasons such as not wanting them around the house or because the woman wants to become studious when women are not supposed to do that. Women had very little control over their lives and if a man decided to send a sane woman to an asylum for whatever reason, the woman was trapped. They had little to no hope of being freed. This was not just a fictional, dramatized account of a rare case; this was a fictional account of something completely nonfictional and even halfway normal.A lot of adult subject matter gets brought into this novel that is a dark shadow in society that everyone knows about now, but was practically taboo to even think about back then. For example? Homosexuality, child pornography, rape, and teenage pregnancy. And that is only the beginning of it. I'm not sure why this is categorized as a young adult book because such subject matter exactly the things popular young adult lit is made of (at least within one novel). I'm fine with that because we need something different in the young adult world every now and then, but yeah. Not your average young adult novel. I wouldn't hand this to a fourteen-year-old kid or anyone younger than that. I might not even give it to a fifteen-year-old unless I felt they were mature enough!I thought of this novel as predictable when I got to the three-hundredth page and in the course of those next fifty pages, what I thought I knew got revealed as being something completely unexpected. Isn't it wonderful when books do that and make sense while doing so? I do, and that is just what Wildthorn did.I found it a bit sad that the thought was never explored that maybe Louisa actually was Lucy Childs and was ill enough to think she was someone else. The reader and Louisa are always certain that she is Louisa and not someone else. Even if it was just a quick bout of such an identity crisis, that little touch would have made a great book even greater.Normally I wouldn't notice this, but it happened so many times throughout the novel that it stuck out like a sore thumb: if someone wronged Louisa at some point, they are screwed at a later point, like her older brother Tom and the attendant Weeks. This made me giggle because I remember seeing an item on a Mary Sue litmus test one that went just like that. Louisa certainly isn't a Sue, but the thought of that item came to mind and refused to leave. it didn't count against the book either; it was just fun to keep count of how many times it happened.Seriously, go get this book. For all of the adult content within this novel, it is a worthwhile read and I am very glad I decided to buy it. If this kind of novel is outside of what you would normally read for whatever reason, reach beyond your comfort zone and grab this novel. I promise, you will not regret it. I don't know why I was avoiding LGBT lit before, but you can bet I will no longer do so!