Genres: Biography, historical fiction, family
Format: Paperback, 330 pages
Publishing date: March 22nd 2013 by Oceanbooks
Edition language: English
Malcolm lost everything in life when his mom died and his dad abandoned him at the train station. As trauma after trauma manifested in this young boy's life, his brain closed off the section when his memories became too much to handle. As a result he became more quiet and eventually stop speaking altogether. He had to endure terrible odds to survive, but had the presence of mind to know what was actually happening with- and around him. He was admitted to the Seacliff Asylum, which later would be named Seacliff Mental Hospital. It was also known as the Loony Bin or Booby Hatch, where "Malcolm gleaned that mad people shouldn’t speak. It only caused trouble and more work. They should sit and be quiet. Quietly mad. They lived in a world full of silent people in The Building – that’s what the hospital was called.
He suffered and witnessed the aftermath of experimental treatments, including the embarrassing concept of Eugenics, on people and at one point decided to take control of his own destiny by hiding his medicines in his pocket seams and not drinking it in the hope of improving his memory, which were constantly destroyed by The Treatment. With all The Treatments they had to endure through the years, and all the medicines fed to them to calm them all down, the 'inmates' lost their mind altogether. A little voice in him encouraged him to fight back his own silent way.
Seacliff Lunatic Asylum
The book is not only a commemoration of the historical building, Seacliff Lunatic Asylum in New Zealand, but also a detailed description of the lives and characters who graced it with their presence as either the 'rejects' of society, or the staff who worked there for many years. The characters are so endearing, I almost felt like going to them and say "I am so sorry society treated you this way".
The story winds through the historical facts with ease and a gripping tale is introduced to the reader. The tale is very well written.
This book reminds me of the movie "One flew over the Cuckoo's nest" , which also had me laughing and crying. Eventually Malcolm's spirit would triumph and in his case it became a celebration, after confirmation, of hope which never died:
"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." --(Movie quote from: The Shawshank Redemption (1994) - Andy Defresne (Tim Robbins)
What an amazing story!
Susan Tarr has been writing for 25 years. The author started writing when she lived in Kenya, far away from home, writing letters to her mom about her daily life and adventurous experiences in this African mileu. She decided to turn it into a book.
The stories in "SEACLIFF: A Regular Boy Within" have been blended from recollections of what probably did happen during the book's setting. She worked in Mental Health, Govenrnment Printing, Education Board and Social Welfare before sailing to Kenya, where she raised her family. While she always has a book or two on the go, she is also busy proofreading for others. Her favorite genres for writing are historical fiction and romantic comedies.
She draws her characters and inspiration from personal experience and other peoples’ anecdotal stories. Her characters take on a life of their own, becoming larger than life. Various stories in this historical fictional taleSeacliff , have been blended from recollections of what probably did happen during the book’s setting. To protect those people still living, changes were made where necessary, but the the dates, places, and names are otherwise correct.