Monday, June 22, 2015

"Concrete Angel"

Patricia Abbott is the author of more than 125 stories that have appeared online, in print journals and in various anthologies. She is the author of Monkey Justice and Home Invasion and co-editor of Discount Noir. She won a Derringer award for her story "My Hero."

Abbott applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Concrete Angel, and reported the following:
Either I wrote Concrete Angel with this test in mind or something paranormal occurred. Page 69 is the beginning of one the more important sections of the book: the exploration of the treatment of a mentally ill woman between 1962 and 1975.

Eve Moran, the book's protagonist, has just been caught shoplifting in Wanamakers Department Store in the early sixties. To extricate her from possible legal action, her husband has promised to get her psychiatric treatment. On page 69, she enters an upscale facility called The Terraces. Her husband, Hank, has committed her, and she is steaming mad once the valium wears off. She has reasoned that his promise was tactical rather than binding. This is what greets her at The Terraces.
The Regimen. It was the cusp of a new era of treatment for the mentally ill. No more lobotomies or electric or insulin shock treatments. No more strait-jackets or wrapping patients in wet clothes. Instead it was the era of talk therapy.... Patients had to talk their head off to be released, remembering or inventing dreams, thoughts, grievances, childhood traumas--all of this to feed the doctors needs to probe their minds.
Eve, being the savvy yet self-destructive woman she is, manages to thwart her incarceration's limitations by having goods delivered to her room at The Terraces. The practice is not unusual. It is the amount of merchandise that stuns everyone.

Although this page is pure narrative without any dialog, I think it is pretty indicative of the subject matter of the book. Eve is a mentally ill woman and the book is about how her family, especially her daughter, Christine, are impacted by that.
Visit Patricia Abbott's website.

--Marshal Zeringue