Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Breaking Out of Bedlam: A Novel Paperback – March 1, 2011
Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
—The New York Times
“Tough-edged Cora Sledge, 82, is a reluctant resident of The Palisades nursing home—a ‘prison [where] your only crime is you lived too long.’ Her tell-all journal, recounting dramas at the home (thefts, love affairs, rivalries) and a tragedy buried in her past, is profane, harrowing, comical—and Cora’s voice is spot-on.”
“Breaking out of Bedlam is a fun—and inspiring—read, that proves you’re never too old to really start living.”
“Larson has drawn a winning character in Cora . . . a Confederate Stone Angel, with our Hagar as template. Like Hagar, she is rude, crude, arrogant, and totally without apology—and readers should admire her for it.”
—The Hamilton Spectator (Canada)
“Delightful . . . Larson injects a jolt of liveliness into the bleak setting of an assisted living home, thanks to the obstinate and crass narrator, 82-year-old Cora Sledge. . . . Cora’s machinations—sometimes wily, sometimes curious, always funny—and her lovable crustiness give this plenty of heart and humor.”
“Heartwarming and funny, with nary a slip into sentimentality.”
“Leslie Larson is a writer of tales that are hilarious and heartbreaking at once—no easy feat, but the mark of great storytelling. She writes with an intimate eye and heart about citizens so familiar to the American landscape, we don’t even see them.”
—Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street
“Leslie Larson has created an original in Cora Sledge. Overweight with secrets, tough as she is ill, Cora is about to spill the beans on her ill-mannered, kidnapping children in a journal given to her by a grandchild. Instead, what she discovers in this moving and funny novel about assisted living is, to her astonishment, a primer on love.”
—Helena María Viramontes, author of Their Dogs Came with Them
“Is death a tragedy or a triumph? Is it a nightmare or a dark comedy? Do we put our accounts in order, or do we exact our revenge? Is there, even, a touch of grace? Somehow, Leslie Larson manages to explore all these possibilities in this powerful novel.”
—Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter and Into the Beautiful North
“In a voice brimming with wit, energy, and originality, and with a keen eye and a pitch-perfect ear for language, Leslie Larson delivers us a protagonist like no other. Through Cora Sledge’s unique perspective, we ache and laugh along with her until the very last page, and she reminds us that longing and acceptance are at the very core of the human condition no matter what our age or circumstance.”
—Alex Espinoza, author of Still Water Saints
"Few women have kept me as worried and curious and awake at night as Cora Sledge, the 'heroine' of Leslie Larson's great new novel. Her life is huge, and tragic, and comic, and stalwart, and her voice is astonishing. How does Larson know these things, especially the things we're all afraid of, that we'll end up helpless, powerless, loveless, after such lives we think we're living? Read this novel to see redemption."
—Susan Straight, author of Highwire Moon and A Million Nightingales
“Meet pill-popping, slovenly, sharp-tongued Cora Sledge, all three-hundred pounds and eighty-two years of her. Be prepared for surprises at every turn, from the moment her children shove her out of her home and into Palisades, a cinder-block warehouse for the aged. There, love, skullduggery, and heartbreak await Cora and finally lead her to a well-lighted path. In BREAKING OUT OF BEDLAM, Leslie Larson gives us high hilarity and deep tenderness, allowing neither to rob the other. In Cora Sledge, she gives us a woman who is brave enough to look closely at the sum of all her years and to learn new love from old sorrows.”
—Kate Maloy, author of Every Last Cuckoo
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
But as we learn from the pages of Cora's diary, this is a woman with an indomitable spirit, married at seventeen and hiding a painful secret all the long years of her life. After a few weeks in bed, drugged to insensitivity by the pills she has managed to sneak into the facility, Cora resists the siren call of oblivion as she explores the limitations and conditions at her new home, where "the walkers and wheelchairs make a slow-motion stampede for the dining room" and the halls smell of incontinence and despair. There are few friends here- certainly not her table mate, "Poison Ivy"- but a respiratory therapist offers enough kindness to spark Cora's flagging spirit. Decreasing her drug intake, Cora is inspired to shed the weight as she unburdens her soul of a lifetime of sorrows.Read more ›
The book is written as a journal that Cora is writing, and in it she both talks about the day to day happenings at The Palisades and also about her life growing up. There are secrets in both. I found myself unable to put the book down wondering what was going to happen next. I loved several characters, especially a male nurse she befriends. A scene where Cora - who because of her age and weight can't walk very far - decides to go to the other side of the facility to find a man she's romantically interested in was unforgettable in the way the author made a trek across a building seem like a trip across the desert.
I'm kind of surprised this book isn't getting all the buzz some others are... I hope it catches on because I'd like to see more from this author. I will be recommending it to my book club.
If you enjoyed "The Help" by katherine Stockett, you will probably enjoy this. Both books have strong main leads who take us to places we may not have encountered. Both have right-on dialects and compelling plot lines. They're not great literature, but both books grab your heart immediately and end way before you're ready to leave.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm reading this book to a group of seniors at an assisted living. It's definitely a fun read - I'd say that there's a bit of language, so if you are easily offended - this is not... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Alecia R
I only finished this book because I was reading it for a book group, and I was surprised that no Amazon reviewers share my negative response to it. Read morePublished 13 months ago by old bookworm
Not the type of book I usually read, but found it very enjoyablePublished 16 months ago by L. Conrad
Loved it ~ She did a wonderful job with the characters ~ Enjoyable read for us older folk who might be helping our parents out in their later years.Published on July 31, 2014 by Cami Kay
We read this for our Book Club. The younger ones loved the book and found the characters and story well fleshed out. Read morePublished on June 30, 2014 by Frances P Tanner
This Is a tale of a life remembered and a life begun. Bedlam is an upscale assisted living "prison" in which the narrator finds herself and where she learns to love and to forgive. Read morePublished on February 24, 2014 by Barbara B
A glorious peek into the head and heart of a feisty Senior, the story was entertaining and insightful! Read morePublished on February 22, 2014 by Sass;y