- James Teasdale and Bryan Young are British pilots around the time of World War II - they were set out on a mission before their plane was shot down, James and Bryan decided to claim insanity when they jump aboard the train when their enemies approach. They actually throw two patients off of the train so they can take their place, however, they do plan to escape later. Soon, the end up in The Alphabet House, a mental hospital where German doctors subject their patients to unsanitary experiments and treatments.. Afterwards, they discover they aren't the only ones feigning madness in the Alphabet House.
- The premise is brilliant - I was easily hooked on the concept of this novel, the plot is creative, catchy, and creepy! I hadn't heard a concept about feigning madness before, and I like the fact that the setting takes you back to a historical time. I wonder if people had actually pretended to be insane during these times. I was uncomfortable reading that James and Bryan had actually thrown down two patients to take over their places in the train .. That is wrong, however, I do feel certain situations can make you quite desperate. You would do anything to survive, things you would never do under normal circumstances such as, eating dead people when there's no food for days?
- The Alphabet House is a book I enjoyed reading beginning to the end, the first chapter attained my attention right away. I was easily swayed on how well-written the book is, I couldn't wait to find out what happens next. The dialogue, action, and the feeling of the thrill is all there. However, it does start to lag towards the middle. The book was quite long since it's told in two different parts. The second part wasn't as great as the first part, although, I still liked it. This is a powerful, yet disturbing novel, I wouldn't be even able to imagine the pain, and treatment James and Bryan had to endure just to survive. Imagine feigning madness, and lying in a bed in your own filth where you cannot move? I really loved what The Alphabet House portrayed, it's an example of realism.
- I was intrigued by the friendship of James and Byan, their bond was strong and likeable - I liked James character more than Bryan's. I thought he was more wiser yet Bryan was more cunning. I don't agree with the actions they had committed, but I could understand why they chose this path. This might not be suitable novel for some people since it does have horrifying and creepy situations, although, it's not gruesome. I remember watching a movie on the Holocaust once, and I remember a group of Jewish women pricked their skin with needles, so they can add more redness a.k.a blood to their face so they look "healthy" to the German soldiers and pass the body inspection. Back to the novel, it is a read worth trying, it opens the reader's mind more about understanding characters and the choices they make. It's not a perfect book, but it's a strong debut. I would rate it 4 out of 5 butterflies.
Recommended for fans of The Diary of a Young Girl, Unbroken, Night, and Schindler's List.