Wednesday, December 26, 2012

That's Not a Feeling (Novel) Book Review by ChristineMM

That s Not a Feeling Book Review by ChristineMM

Title: That’s Not a Feeling (a novel)
Author: Jan Josefson (his first book)
Publication: Soho, 2012
Genre: Fiction (topic: private residential psychiatric facility for teens in NY state)

Benjamin thought he was going for a tour of a private “therapeutic boarding school” (psychiatric facility for teens) in upstate New York but instead his parents dropped him off, without even a chance to say goodbye. The novel starts off with a bang and through the story we learn about the facility, the teen boys and girls who live there and about its staff and administration. Set in a rural community on what formerly was a grand estate and run by an aging and dying man adds more mystery and a haunting sense to the tale.

One element that I felt made this story so personal was that the narration changes, it is told in the first person, supposedly through Benjamin, yet the perspective is not just what he could have known. We hear the thoughts, sights of many different teens, new teachers, experienced teachers, and of the administrators as the story unfolds.

The story is fascinating and I wanted to understand the facility’s processes and procedures, something that takes nearly the entire book to explain as the story unfolded. I was equally curious about the man who founded Roaring Orchards, what motivated him, and of how the facility seemed to encompass and take over the lives of everyone who worked there. I felt that Josefson painted a thorough picture of the facility itself; I could picture it in my mind, and the environment and tone of the place as well.

I describe the story as haunting, mysterious, painful, funny, and intelligent. I enjoyed the narrative voice yet it was frustrating for me as I wanted to jump into the story and help the teens who repeatedly made mistakes that kept them from making right choices and kept them stuck in their ruts. I wanted all of the teens healed immediately and it was hard to hear that some had lived there for years and years.

I rate this book 5 stars = I Love It for the excellent storytelling and engrossing nature of the novel.

Disclosure: I received one unit of this product from's Vine program for the purpose of reviewing it on the site. I was not paid to write the review or to blog it, nor was I under obligation to review it favorably.

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