Sunday, 10 July 2011

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

This book was an interesting find. After seeing it elsewhere on the Internet, and then spotting it on the shelves of Asda for around £4, I snapped it up.

Upon perusing the book cover and blurb I had absolutely no idea what this book was about. It intrigued me.  So it's contents were a massive surprise. It was very, very different, which is exactly what I've been looking for.

The story centers around Alison, a young woman who is locked up in a mental hospital. At first she has no idea why she is there.. or how. But then she remembers. She killed someone.

But that's not where it ends. Because there is no body.

I'll warn you, this story was very interesting, but I found it separated into two separate parts. The first part includes a mental hospital, mental illness and self-discovery and the second part comes out of nowhere. It's completely different. But it explains everything.
I have a problem with this though. It felt like it was written by a completely different person. The themes were different, the subject matter was different, and I just wondered how it could be in the same book. I have to say that perhaps it would have been better to conclude this book in a way more in line with the story, and save the last part for a different book.

As for the characters, I really liked Alison. I understood her, but I would have made the same choices that she did, even though later on some are decreed to be naive and wrong. Also, despite the flaws in the characters I did understand their choices and ambitions. This is definitely proof of a writer with well rounded characters.

The idea of exploring and explaining how people with mental health problems might feel, and some mental health disorders was a great idea. Also I loved that the author wanted to challenge the idea of being 'insane' or 'sane', and how they might intermingle. But I think perhaps the best idea was that something that may be considered 'insane' or 'mentally instable' might actually be explained by other things, or might be something different to what it seems.

I found R.J. Anderson's writing style to be fluid and easy to read, and the descriptions of Alison's condition was quite beautiful.

I'm giving Ultraviolet 4 out of 5 stars as I'm not quite sure about the ending, but the idea for the book itself was something completely new and different.

The Truth About Books Review