Poppy Shakespeare

Poppy Shakespeare

Book - 2006
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The most extraordinary look at madness since One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest .

Highly original and darkly funny, Clare Allan's debut novel explores the relationship between N., a patient in a mental institution, and Poppy Shakespeare, a new and disturbingly 'sane' arrival who finds herself having to feign mental illness in order to be released.

There are 25 residents at the Dorothy Fish, one for each letter of the alphabet - the 'X' chair is vacant. The day hospital sits on the bottom floor of an impossibly tall tower, stretching so high into the sky that its uppermost residents can see right round the world and back in through the window behind them. The system is simple: the crazier you are, the higher up the tower they put you.

When Poppy Shakespeare arrives, N. has already been at Dorothy Fish for thirteen years, and spends her days quietly, smoking in the common room and swapping medication with her fellow patients. But what happens in the next six months will change both of their lives forever.

In this inventive and brutally comic novel, Clare Allan captures the familiar and sometimes terrifying idiosyncrasies of a modern institution, asking the question: who is mad and who is sane? And who gets to decide? By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Poppy Shakespeare is a significant achievement of voice and insight.

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2006
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9781596911543
Branch Call Number: FICTION All
Description: 341 pages ; 22 cm


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Sep 15, 2014

This reminded me of 'Girl, Interrupted' in the way that the two girls, N and Poppy, are close friends. Poppy reminds me of me trying to be normal and sane, even through my own mental illness. It reminds me of myself being in denial for so long, until I've decided to take proper medications everyday and face my challenges. At first, I didn't really connect with this book, but by the end I was very happy to have read it. It's Clare Allan's first novel, and I think she did a great job. Googling the book, I realized it's a movie as well and I'm looking into that :)

Dec 04, 2009

Maybe I picked the wrong time to read this book. I just found it wearing. Sort of a cross between Catch-22, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and The Sound and the Fury. With "You know what I mean?" all through it.


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