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The Great Pretender Review

The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan My Rating: 2/5 stars

Let me start by saying I typically tend to enjoy an non-fiction reads. I love learning and the plot of this book was so interesting to me. I mean it claims to be the real story of eight people who went undercover as psych patients into asylums in the 1970s. It sounds so exciting and enlighting. Well the most exciting part was the summary on the back cover.

The writing style of this book is awful. It’s like a drunk aunt or a wild college professor who was telling me a story and continually forgetting the point. It’s full of wild tangents and unnecessary author bias.

Don’t get me wrong Susannah Cahalan’s story where her actual illness was diagnosed as a mental disorder. But she wrote a Memoir called Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. Did she really need to rehash that story in this book as well?

Parts of this book were really interesting but they got lost in the rest of the book. This book could have been shorter and better organized and I think this could have been a really powerful piece. The plot is really intriguing but it falls flat. The Bottom Line: There are so many good books in the world, don’t waste your time with this one.

I received a review copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing and Shelf Awareness in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this book.


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