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Friday, July 17, 2020

The Girl Behind the Gates by Brenda Davies

This was a rather heart breaking read. It is also true and very representative of how mental health was treated and worst of all how pre marital pregnancies were treated. Nora is a young girl who has got pregnant and of course, considering the times the first thing her mother says is "what would the neighbours think?" but in Nora's case the situation becomes worse. Her father, a tyrant at the best of times very free with his belt, calls in the authorities who declare Nora mentally deficient and she is admitted to an institute.

Nora's nightmare begins for decades and the story highlights the cruelty, the masochism and the sadism of doctors, attendants and nurses who were there to look after these patients. The murder of her baby was the most cruel thing imaginable and it is a miracle that Nora emerged from the whole stay not deranged.

Very hard to read in sections, it is nevertheless factual and it has to be said however hard the facts are to take in. A very good story. Well told.

I need a really light read after this one.

Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for sending the book to me via Netgalley, for an unbiased review.

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