Rabbits in the Garden by Jessica McHugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I discovered the work of Jessica through Twitter, and my curiosity got picked when I read a few of her short stories. Her writing shows a maturity that struck me hard and left me in awe, and I longed to read one of her novels to confirm whether she really was the talented author she claimed to be. She obviously delivered more than I expected.
Rabbits in the Garden is the story of Avery, a rebellious, smart, vindictive and tenacious teenager who doesn’t quite understand the lessons her mother tries to teach her, but she complies nevertheless with the nonsense she’s forced to endure because she wasn’t raised an ungrateful daughter. Yet when she falls in love with Paul and decides to enjoy her childhood having fun and spending time with her newly found boyfriend, her mother punishes her and sends her to an insane asylum. Ensue 6 years of abominable torture while Avery tries to prove she isn’t the crazy person her delirious mother says she is. Avery resists all the torment of her prison and the loveless existence she’s been unjustly awarded, and despite the threats of incompetent doctors and nurses manages to survive and finally escapes the asylum at the age of 18.
Her insane mother never stays too far away from her however and tries to subdue her daughter into really believing she was the crazy one all along, until Avery manages to switch tables and teach her mother a lesson that’ll also seal her fate.
This book was written with so much passion, sincerity, realism and beauty it left me hungry for more. A true beautiful read for anybody who loves horror and twisted characters.