Read-along Week #1--Discussion Post #2 (Chapters 4-6)

Welcome to week 1 of the INNOCENT DARKNESS read-along. If you haven't registered yet, please do, it makes you eligible for the Grand Prizes. I add a new prize for every 10 registrants.

Here's the discussion post for Chapters 4-6. One lucky commentor will win a book from my stash of awesome.  You can talk about whatever you like in regard to the chapters 4-6 in the comments below (you can also talk about it on Twitter #idreadalong). Just a few rules:
1) Play nice
2) No spoilers from chapters beyond the ones we're talking about.

So, let's talk about Findlay. Yes, it's a disturbing, awful place. Here's a video of me talking about how Findlay is based on Victorian-era insane asylums.

Some trivia from Chapters 4-6

  • Miss Gregory isn't based on a real person (I've been asked this). 
  • Charlotte wasn't a character I intended to write. I was actually going to make Noli's ally someone in the brothel next door. She just forced her way in and stayed. Lottie was a common nickname for Charlotte in the Victorian era.
  • Many of the societal rules Noli laments about actually existed in the Victorian era
  • The isolation box was an actual treatment from the era and all the labels she and Charlotte talk about (willfulness, hysteria, etc) were actual reasons for institutionalizing women.
  • The flowers in the garden at Findlay are actual flowers purported to attract faeries according to faerie lore.

Happy commenting, both below and on twitter #idreadlong. Remember, no spoilers beyond chapter 6 and please play nice. Join me Friday, July 5th at 1 pm PST for the weekly #idreadalong chat -- feel free to join in even if you haven't read the chapters or aren't registered.


Katrina Marie said...

Findlay scares the mess out of me. But I figured it was along the lines of an asylum. I really like Charlotte. She refuses to let them get her down. And the garden sounds magnificent.

Caroline Foxwell said...

I started getting a bit claustrophobic just reading about the isolation box! I can see how Findlay is based off of Victorian asylums. I find them very fascinating and terrifying at the same time. Enjoying the book very much so far!

Tiffany said...

I totally agree with Katrina and Caroline. Findlay house is just *SHUDDERS* And everything that you mentioned is just crazy. It's one of those things you don't like to think about. Like Noli's mother always trying to find the good and not taking a good look around her. I can't even imagine what that feels like. All those treatments and abuse.

so getting off that dreadful topic. I'm so glad that you decided to put Charlotte in there. She is what keeps Noli sane and I love Charlotte b/c she is a free spirit. She not going to let anyone put her down. :D

I'm really enjoying the read-along. The discussions are really helping me write my review. :D

Pamelabee said...

Findlay House is crazy, more so for being based on real institutions. I still find it hard to believe all the things a woman could be locked up for. trouser wearing?!
I really like Charlotte, between her and the gardens, that's is what's keeping Noli going.

Lea Krnjeta said...

I am really creeped out by Findlay, some if the girls, the "teachers" and that awful doctor. I still cant believe some of the treatments were real and that women were really institutionalized for nothing. Charlotte is the only light in Noli's life now and I like her.

Mindy said...

The asylum scene creeps me out, I've been a CNA/RSA (Direct care staffperson) for 32 years & it never fails to amaze me that people could be deemed insane for "wilfulllness" and other offenses. The doctor is such a sleeze and the teachers, wow.

Mindy :)

KaribbeanIsland said...

When Noli had to go into the isolation tank I knew exactly what it "looked" like. Thank you Fringe. It is sooo creepy what they did to people in asylums back then. Or really up til recently. I have heard of holes being drilled in the skull to let the "demons" out.

Anstice Potts said...

Findlay is such an awful place. It was tough to be alive back then but women had it especially rough. They were expected to be virtuous, chaste and submissive at all times, and their entire status and security depended on finding a good husband. They could be sent to asylums for 'hysteria'-just because the doctors of the time couldn't understand female hormones and emotional states! Chapters 4-6 portrayed the attitudes of the time really well.

It was during these chapters that I really started to warm to Noli. Before I liked her because she seemed really creative, funny and independent. But when she gets sent to Findlay we really see what a strong person she is. She gets through all the pain and humiliation that they throw at her and doesn't let it kill her spirit. I love that she's a fighter, and that she has such a sense of duty to her family as well.

whatthecatread said...

Wow, Findlay House...there's a school I never want to set foot in ever! I had a difficult time getting through these scenes because they made me feel so uncomfortable. There's little question that if such an institution existed today, I'd be stuck in a place like that no question.

As much as it disturbs me to know that such things took place I also find it a fascinating study. Especially when you consider that some of what they did to Noli at the school is stuff that was still being done on some patients less than 60 years ago. When you consider the sanatoriums that existed well into the 50's (the last one which was closed in 1964 I believe) were folks went for treatment of TB or polio, a great many similar forms of patient testing/care was used during that time.

So as much as these scenes at the school disturbed me, I also kind of enjoyed them. Yeah, I'm strange that way, what can I say. :-/

Leeanna said...

I'm joining in a little late, but I bring a graphic to make up for it! Clicky here. I hope it's okay that I made it?

Findlay was terrifying. But I think those chapters, as hard as they were to read, were some of my favorites. They showed me A) you weren't afraid to hurt Noli, and B) set the scene for the kind of world Noli lives in. I also liked that you went "there," with the doctor and his creepiness.

Myra White said...

Is it weird if I say I love Findlay? I mean, it's an awful place and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone, but there's just so much character in the building and it's occupants that you can't help but be fascinated.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Noli's character learn and grow from this experience and I am so pleased you were willing to give this book darker, unfriendly scenes as well as happy. A bit of darkness in books always makes the happiness seem so much more enjoyable!

Froze8 said...

(Just realized I posted a bit about the garden in the last discussion and that wasn't until these chapters. I'm so sorry)

Findlay is a terrible place but it didn't shock me so much to see the way the girls were treated. It did however make me wonder how Noli was ever to escape and what about Charlotte?

I can't wait to find out!

-Kate Tilton

Melissa @ Mel's Books and Info said...

Findlay seems perfectly horrible! I know I wouldn't last a minute in that environment. I am glad Noli has Charlotte and the garden, but am seriously wondering if that will be enough. That doctor gives me the creeps! I hope Noli finds a way out!

Suzanne Lazear said...

Leanna, I LOVE the graphic. I hope you don't mind if I use it!

Everyone, I LOVE your comments on Findlay. There were a lot of horrible things in the Victorian era. I hope you're ready for the next batch of chapters!

Color Blind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Color Blind said...

Miss Gregory scares me a little bit. I don't like her at all. Findlay House seems like a horrible place. It was awful how they lied to Noli's mom just so they could get her consent to leave Noli there. Beating the girls may break their spirit but it isn't going to fix their issues. It will only make them worse or cause new ones. I wonder how many of the girls are pretending to obey instead of actually losing themselves. I hope Noli is able to get okay and not completely lose herself.

Ali @ Dazzled by Books

Angelica Joy said...

Suzanne I'm really enjoying Innocent Darkness and I struggle not to read on, I find that when I read on, when the chapter discussions are happening I tend to not know whereabouts we are up to. Eg. when you asked about the poem at the start of the chapters, if I had read on and the solution was there I would've mentioned it which would have been a spoiler, so that's why I don't read on at read-alongs anymore LOL

I'm really glad that you kept Charlotte, I really enjoy her character and I don't feel as bad for Noli being stuck there with her as a friend, I did wonder why she was called "Lottie".

I cannot believe the treatments were real, what was the point of an isolation box? I'm glad that there were no girls claustrophobic, I'm not and I think I'd end up being if I was stuck in a coffin for an hour. The only way I'd be ok is if I could read a book whilst in there LOL

What are everyone's thoughts on Dr Martin, creepy or what?

What are everyone's thoughts on Margaret, damn I just wanted to grab her by the hair when she told on Noli.