The human mind is an incredibly fascinating thing. It can be difficult to understand at times, but perhaps that’s part of the draw. As a society, we have both discredited and created space for those suffering from mental issues. Perhaps in an effort to not only entertain but further education people on the mental health system, Gabriella Murray wrote Confinement.
Charlotte has been an inmate at Bingham since she was a young girl, after being committed by the convent she grew up in. She knows the ins and outs of the facility and has been plotting her escape for a long while–after all, she maintains that she’s innocent of the crime that placed her there and sane, apart from the schizophrenia. But Charlotte’s plans for escape become derailed at the sensational news of a teen girl, Duffino, who is on trial for murdering two men but refuses to speak up to defend herself. When Duffino joins the group at Bingham she becomes Charlotte’s roommate and Charlotte is determined to help make Duffino better and get her talking again.
As a text with an unreliable narrator in Charlotte, it makes the whole concept rather interesting and allows an “inside” perspective into the mental healing process during the late 1950s when the book was set. Furthering the unreliable narrator is the rather unrealistic access that Charlotte seems to have to confidential conversations that the doctors are having about their patients. The story really points a light on the effect that holding in emotion until it suddenly bursts can have on a person. The text does need a thorough copy edit as there were some rather sloppy grammatical areas throughout the text. While Charlotte was an interesting narrator, she really had no sense of identity (apart from a religious nutter), which made it difficult to identify with her.
Overall, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.