Friday, 23 November 2012

Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane

Everyone in the club had finished this book and one person had watched the film version as well. We decided this was a difficult book to review without giving away massive amounts. So apologies for any accidental spoilers ... you have been warned!

Overall people enjoyed it more than they expected. A lot of the book club members were worried going in that it might be a bit scarey having seen the film trailers. However, it turns out that the book is not as atmospheric as the film so not quite as scarey as we anticipated. The atmosphere in the book we felt was very filmic, we imagined that it would make an excellent film which would maybe make it a little more suspenseful than the book version.

We all felt that it took a while to get going but once it did it was quite gripping, although not to the extent that the blurb on the cover mentioned. We didn't feel it was very suspenseful, but it did have a few elements that we wanted to find answers to. Once we did find the answers we weren't entirely sure we were happy with them. The ending could be seen as very ambiguous, and this is probably how the author meant it, which does fit with the main themes of the book but wasn't very satisfying. It was meant to be an electric thriller, which we didn't quite feel was right. It was more of a slow build mystery rather than a flat-out thriller.

The bookclub members felt that at the end some of the story didn't really make sense, such as the treatment of some of the patients. The staff seemed to do a lot of work just to try and figure out how to cure certain patients while others seemed to be treated as prisoners. There were also some grusome descriptions of some of the ways in which the doctors went about "curing" some of the patients, however, this is very realistic for the time. Some of us were interested to find out more about the different ways in which psychiatry has developed since the period this book is based in.

Overall we gave this book 5.5 out of 10. We found it very quick and easy to read and quite enjoyable.