Fiction. LGBTQIA Studies. Jewish Studies. Women's Studies.This novel traces the life experiences of a once highly successful woman who falls prey to electroshock and subsequently struggles to piece back together her life. Naomi suffers enormous memory loss; additionally, an estrangement from her family of origin that she has no way to wrap her mind around. The novel begins with her wandering the corridor of St. Patricks-St. Andrews Mental Health Centre (St. Pukes) faced with the seemingly impossible challenge of coming to terms with the damage done her, as well as uncovering the hidden details of her life. It moves back and forth between a relatively happy childhood in the legendary north-end Winnipeg of the mid-1900s and post-ECT adulthood in Toronto. An exceptionally kind man named Ger who befriends Naomi comes to suspect that important pieces of the puzzle of what befell her lurk beneath the surface of writing in a binder of hers, which comes to be known as Black Binder Number Three. What Naomi progressively comes to do, often with Ger's help and just as often with the help of a very different and eerily similar sister named Rose, is find ways to do justice to her life and to the various people in it. Filled with a vast array of colourful and insightful characters from a variety of communities—Toronto's Kensington Market of the 1970s, the 1970's trans community, north-end Winnipeg Jewry, and the ingenious and frequently hilarious mad community—this novel sensitizes us to the horror of electroshock, takes us to new levels in our understanding of what it means to be human, and, in the process, leads us to question the very concept of normalcy.
Bonnie Burstow is a professor at the University of Toronto; she is a prolific author, an activist, and one of the world's leading antipsychiatry theorists. Published books include: Psychiatry and the Business of Madness; Radical Feminist Therapy; the novel THE HOUSE ON LIPPINCOTT; and THE OTHER MRS. SMITH. She lives and works in Toronto.Author City: Toronto, ON CAN