Title: Ultraviolet
Author: RJ Anderson
Pages: 316
Pub: September 1st, 2001 ; Lerner Publishing Group
Genre: reality bending (?) fantasy (?)
Etc: received from netgalley

The Short of It

Seeing the world differently can hinder.

The Long of It

Alison is first introduced to us awakening from a fugue.  She has been admitted into a mental institution due to a violent outburst and inability to coherently share what happened.  Oh yeah, and the blood on her hands didn’t help the situation NOR the fact that there’s a missing girl that she’s been known to verbally spar with.  Doesn’t look good. 

Alison also suffers from synesthesia, which is the ability of seeing letters distinctly colored, etc.  In Alison’s life, it really is a hindrance; her world is turned upside down because of this extreme sensory ability.  She can taste sentences and her world is filled with personifications.  Because her mother has ignored her symptoms, Alison has grown up in an environment where she denies these experiences and hides them within herself.

Which definitely allows for the sensation of a “crazy” narrator and makes her very unreliable.  She knows what happened to the missing girl, she saw her disintegrate right in front of her.  Alison keeps this quiet because she knows how it sounds.  And the shrinks already think that she’s schizophrenic.

The Thoughts about It

As many of you know I absolutely freakin’ adore books that take place in mental institutions, asylums, or have any sort of mental illness.  When I saw this book I hardly knew what to expect, and even while reading it, I had no idea what to expect.

I am not very familiar with synethesia, but I think that it was cleverly used in this situation to make Alison even more unreliable than if she was just in a mental institution.  Believing that the girl disintegrated right in front of her hardly fit that disorder, but her ability to “see” the world differently led me to question the reality she was experiencing. 

I read some other reviews that were not as impressed by the book as I was.  In order to fully explain my position, there might be some SPOILERS.  Ultraviolet did move toward a science fiction ending which seems to make some ill at ease, maybe like a cop out?  I don’t’ know.  I had no problem suspending my disbelief.  It led me in that direction perfectly, and maybe it was merely because I looked at Alison as the unreliable narrator that she was.  After all, how can you fully believe a character when you first meet her in a state hospital and a possible criminal?

In a nutshell, this was an enjoyable read. 

1 comment:

  1. This book sounds really interesting. I also like books that take place in asylums, it's almost like time stops in those places.
    I kind of like science fiction (to an extent) so I think I'll be adding this one to my TBR.


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