REVIEW: The Museum of Us by Tara Wilson Redd
Secrets are con artists: they trick you into letting them out.
Sadie loves her rocker boyfriend Henry and her running partner and best friend Lucie, but no one can measure up to her truest love and hero, the dazzling and passionate George. George, her secret.
When something goes wrong and Sadie is taken to the hospital calling out for George, her hidden life may be exposed. Now she must confront the truth of the past, and protect a world she is terrified to lose.
Dear Ms. Wilson Redd,
I asked to review this book on a whim mainly drawn by the lovely cover. I did want to know what was Sadie’s secret, who George was and what was about to come crashing down. The book is mainly about Sadie and is more teen fiction than YA romance. The plot also has little to do with the blurb. YA isn’t what I generally read so I’m sure that I missed some tropes and I’ve also never read any Harry Potter books nor seen any of the movies (I know – gasp, right?) so the chapter titles culled from Pottermore went straight over my head.
Sadie’s parents had barely taken off for a classic car show in Germany when she’s involved in an accident. Once the paramedics have determined that there wasn’t anyone else in the truck with her and her friends have denied all knowledge of anyone named “George,” Sadie begins to be questioned about why she was frantically calling that name at the scene. Who is George and why doesn’t anyone know about him? Sadie desperately tries to hide her secret but the painkillers needed because of her broken leg aren’t helping her. The child psychiatrist gently picks away at Sadie’s silence and another patient warns Sadie that this place will steal her secrets and take them away. Can she hold onto George or is it time to let him go?
It took me a little while to get my bearings. The book is told alternately from first person and third person PsOV. Sadie has such a rich and deep daydreaming universe that she can literally dive into it to the point that she loses herself there. Who knew there’s actually a term for this – maladaptive daydreaming. In this world, Sadie has lived through countless adventures around the world, in different times and alternate universes. It’s the person who has joined Sadie in these escapades who she wants to protect and keep secret.
I think most of us have had our daydreams but Sadie takes hers to extremes. Once it’s revealed why she began sinking into this alternate reality and who “George” is, it makes sense. Yet I ended the book not sure why she was still in need of all this. Her perfect real life boyfriend and best friend are loyal and true to her and she’s found her place in school. Her parents seem understanding as does Sadie’s coach.
And I also wasn’t sure about the psychiatric aspect of the book. Sure let’s get Sadie back into the real world but does this require medication or would delving into why Sadie felt the need to invent this world be sufficient? The book takes place over the course of two weeks which seemed fairly quick to wrap things up. There is a second patient we meet who gives another view of mental illnesses but her story seemed truncated as well. Most of the other characters are not as fleshed out as Sadie and remain two dimensional at best.
The writing is good but I feel that Sadie’s story deserved more long term attention. In a world that seems to thrust medication at mental health patients in place of discussions and dialog, I wonder at Sadie’s long term benefit from it. I would also have liked for the other characters besides George to be more than cardboard cutouts. C