Cara's Asylum - Book Review

Cara's Asylum

Author: Elsa Harrow
Genre: Fiction - Thriller - General
Date Published: April 11, 2018
ISBN-10: 168433036X
ISBN-13: 978-1684330362

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Book Review of :  Cara's Asylum


Cara’s Asylum by Elsa Harrow is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Carmen Brown, who prefers being called Cara. She is confined to Calm Springs, a place for people with mental issues.  Cara is a petite very beautiful young girl with a very confused view of what a teenager’s life is supposed to be like. Cara’s drug using mother had been offering her as payment in exchange for her fixes. It had first been restricted to allowing men to fondle her and then it escalated into actual sex with gang members. 

Alexander Wayland is an intern at Calm Springs and is the first employee of the facility that has any contact with Cara. He is twenty and finds that this new beautiful patient possesses a magnetism that he finds difficult to resist.  She tells him how she was used, “I became their toy in exchange for money or drugs for my mother.”  Alec hates what she has endured in her short life. He relates to her issues and feels very protective of her. He soon finds himself fantasizing about her in ways he should not. She appears to be interested in him also which confuses him even more because he knows touching her or having anything remotely inappropriate would end his career.

The intern, Alexander, is supposed to be helping her but before long he finds that she is comforting him with his issues that have been buried deep within him.  Their relationship is like a tug of war between them, where there are longings and desires that cannot be fulfilled but nevertheless are powerfully felt by both Alec and Cara.

Cara is very intelligent for her age and very outspoken. The resident therapist sees her as a challenge, but also a very time-consuming problem child. She is afraid of people deserting her and when Alec wants others to help her she sees it as another desertion. Alec wants her helped and a part of him tells him to distance himself from her but his heart tells him otherwise.

Cara’s Asylum is fiction but it is also an exploration of the sometimes blurry boundaries between therapist and client.  It's a continually thought-provoking book, almost guaranteed that any client and/or therapist who reads it will strongly identify with it. Elsa Harrow’s novel illustrates how agonizing it is to be obsessed day and night by the image of a person you can't have. Sigmund Freud himself predicted that intense sexual attraction would often hover dangerously near to the couch and so it does in Cara’s Asylum.

About Elsa Harrow

A writer of fiction (and other things...) Believer the power of words!


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