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on October 19, 2017
The narrative is interesting and vivid, but I didn't like how it ended. About halfway through the novel, the characters *finally* realize they can hide pills in their cheeks instead of swallowing, when the pills are the only reason the main character is dulled enough to get stuck in the mental ward in the first place. I mean, come one. Hiding the pills is the first thing anybody thinks of.
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on September 5, 2012
The beginning starts off great. I'm there, I'm interested, I'm intrigued. Then the book turned into so many different styles, genres, ideas, that I started to skip pages. Then I would go back hoping to find something more, but I didn't.

Midway through the book, chapters of real life summaries of mental health patients are thrown in, then as abruptly as these couple of chapters are thrown in, they are gone. Is there a monster there or do the patients see a monster? Regardless, the staff just allows 'the Devil' to kill, torture and maim people??? Why the deep character studies, narratives, conversations, names just to suddenly stop talking about them or not elaborate on an important factor about them (Dorry (is that her son??????????? How do you sweep THAT under the rug?) Nurse Josephine, Scotch Tape, Coffee, the therapist guy at book group, Loochie's chapter at the table with her family, the conversation of Pepper and his mom, the folders, Sue, the cops, the Devil-- WHY ALL THIS STUFF??! To just forget about it. They don't escape, determine if the thing is a monster or man, or get released.

OH and there are a lot of racist jokes, ideas, tones, stereotypes etc. LOTS. I suppose he meant it to be funny but I didn't find it so (and I am a New Yorker too so that is not why ;-) If you are not from NYC you may not get 1/2 the references.
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on December 4, 2012
I downloaded this book because it was recommended on GoodReads' "Hipster Lit Flow Chart." To the books credit, I didn't think it was overly hipster-ish at all! It was a very engaging and interesting to read, and hardly pretentious.

The characters (seriously, like, every single one) were diverse and well fleshed out. The plot does require some suspension of disbelief (come on, it's a horror story), but not so much that it ruins the experience. And I felt like I actually learned something from this book; I came away just a smidgeon smarter.

Overall the book had engaging characters, an interesting plot, and relevance to the realities of psych units today. It's not going to go down as the next Great American Novel, but who the hell cares? It's a great book to read in your spare time!
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on July 9, 2016
Although well written, the story felt so disjointed to me. There were so many pieces that felt like randomly added material and didn't really have a thing to do with the actual story. From the title to the mass hallucination regarding what the devil really looked like, ultimately the book felt oddly structured and somewhat incomplete.
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on May 19, 2014
Why did the "devil" sometimes have a bison's head and sometimes not? Why was our "hero" committed in the first place? Final "resolution" very unsatisfying. Many other better books to spend your time reading.
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on November 6, 2016
I thought it would be horror, it certainly wasn't.... this shouldn't even be considered in a similar realm. Not horror.
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on August 17, 2016
It was a little slow for me. I did want to finish it but was somewhat underwhelmed.
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on March 22, 2016
I really wanted to like this book. The premise was brilliant but, sheesh, if it were any slower it would be moving backwards. I appreciate the effort but the result, well, not so good.
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on May 15, 2017
If I had to pick one word to describe this book it would be: Dull.

While I did enjoy the characters and I even managed to laugh out loud on a couple of occasions the story just didn't seem to be going anywhere. It's just day in and day out of living in a mental hospital which isn't very exciting and certainly doesn't make for a compelling book. Maybe this would of worked better as a novella. This book is ambitious at 434 pages. I read up to page 184 which means I still had 250 more pages to get through and it turns out that was the scariest part about this entire read for me. Abandoned at 44%.
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on September 2, 2016
Unusual story well told. Unpredictable.
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