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The Bright Unknown – tekijä: Elizabeth…
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The Bright Unknown (vuoden 2019 painos)

– tekijä: Elizabeth Byler Younts (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioKeskustelut
2812650,822 (4.82)-
This poignant and heartbreaking novel explores the power of resilience, the gift of friendship, and the divine beauty to be found in the big, bright world--if only we're willing to look. Pennsylvania, 1940s. The only life Brighton Friedrich has ever known is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of Riverside Home--the rural asylum where she was born. A nurse, Joann, has educated and raised Brighton, whose mother is a patient at the hospital. But Joann has also kept vital information from Brighton--secrets that if ever revealed would illuminate Brighton's troubling past and the circumstances that confine her to Riverside. Brighton's best friend is a boy she calls Angel, and as they grow up together and face the bleak future that awaits them, they determine to make a daring escape. Nothing can prepare Brighton and Angel for life beyond Riverside's walls. They have no legal identities, very little money, and only a few leads toward a safe place to land. As they struggle to survive in a world they've never seen before, they must rely on each other and the kindness of strangers--some of whom may prove more dangerous than the asylum they've fled. Narrated in Elizabeth Byler Yount's gorgeous style, The Bright Unknown is a sparkling search for answers, family, and a place to call home. Praise for The Bright Unknown: "With prose that is luminous and lyrical, The Bright Unknown is a compelling read from the first page to the last." --Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Last Year of the War… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:PattiP1992
Teoksen nimi:The Bright Unknown
Kirjailijat:Elizabeth Byler Younts (Tekijä)
Info:Thomas Nelson (2019), 368 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):*****
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The Bright Unknown (tekijä: Elizabeth Byler Younts)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 12) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
This is a book that sat in my NetGalley tbr for far too long. I have no idea why I kept skipping it for others, and it’s now one of the best books I’ve read this year.

First, The Bright Unknown is beautifully written. It’s descriptive (painfully so at times) and well-paced, with a fully realized character in Brighton. I truly felt like I grew up with her, and felt her feelings right along with her. The characters of Nursey, Angel, and Grace are also well-drawn and authentic. The story feels researched and very much within its time historically. I’ve not read any other books by this author, but I will most definitely be looking for more of her work.

I really appreciated the way the author dealt with the harsh reality of how people with mental illnesses and people on the fringes of society were treated in our institutions in the not-so-distant past. The book is gritty and heartbreaking, and even though poor Brighton has never known anything but Riverside, and the patients and staff there are her friends and family, the reader truly feels the horror, neglect, and sadness of the poor souls trapped within its walls. I think this quote near the end, from grown-up Nell, perfectly summarizes my feelings having finished the book:

“Don’t forget that thousand of souls lived and died there and were ostracized by society. Many are buried in the back corner because no one claimed their bodies. Don’t forget the history of what has happened at Riverside and other facilities like it, and don’t let history repeat itself. And when you meet someone who might struggle with mental illness, see the person behind the frightened eyes. Not just the diagnosis.”

Even when Brighton and Angel are able to escape, they have a long way to go both physically and emotionally on their own in the world for the first time. There are times that things outside seem even less hopeful and bleak than things were in the asylum. Thankfully, the endings of both timelines were uplifting and positive… I needed that in my life right now!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, coming-of-age stories that don’t shy away from the darker side of society. If you’re anything like me, you will need to have some tissues handy, though. It’s a powerful story that will take your heart apart and still leave you hopeful. ( )
  sprainedbrain | Nov 21, 2020 |
4.5 stars.

The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts is a gritty yet ultimately, hopeful, novel that mainly takes place in the Riverside Home for the Insane.

Although she has no mental illness, Brighton Friedrich lives in a mental institution with her mother, Helen. Pregnant when admitted to Riverside, Helen gives birth to Brighton within the asylum walls, but it is nurse, Joann Derry, who raises the young girl. As she grows older, Brighton takes care for her mom while Joann provides an education for her and her best friend, Angel. Brighton also witnesses the horrific "treatment" of the patients who suffer from serious mental illnesses such as psychosis and schizophrenia. She is very much aware that during this time period, not everyone who is a patient belongs there. Many of the patients are merely an inconvenience to their families while others are mentally retarded, depressed or merely orphaned. After befriending new patient, Grace Douglass, who is Brighton's age, they, along with Angel, begin planning for their eventual escape.

In 1990, Brighton, who now goes by Nell, is contacted by Kelly Keene who has possession of the items she was forced to leave behind during her hurried departure from Riverside decades earlier. Kelly will return Nell's belongings in return for telling her story about what occurred within the walls of the asylum. The now dilapidated buildings are slated for demolition as long as the town agrees to fund the project. Nell will only agree with her proposition as long as Kelly arranges for her to revisit the grounds and buildings where she lived during her childhood. Will confronting the ghosts of her past give Brighton peace? Or will her experiences continue to haunt her?

Seamlessly weaving back and forth in time, The Bright Unknown is a beautifully written novel that is heartbreaking but also hopeful. The horrors of asylums and the treatment of the patients are sensitively portrayed but sometimes difficult to read. Through Elizabeth Byler Younts' descriptive prose, the setting and characters spring vibrantly to life. A poignant and thought-provoking novel that I found impossible to put down and highly recommend. ( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
Wow. The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts is historical fiction at its finest. Exquisite and heartbreaking and hopeful, it is one of those books that needs to be experienced.

Born into an asylum, Brighton Friedrich spends her growing-up years surrounded by mental patients, nurses and doctors, and a boy she called Angel. She longs to know the world beyond the asylum’s boundaries, yet is as trapped by its harsh realities as any patient. As the narrative alternates between her present and her past, Brighton’s journey toward a future of freedom unfolds, weighted with frustration, emotion, and authenticity and driven by masterful storytelling.

Younts brings the experience of an asylum to life with haunting clarity, and in sharing Brighton’s story, she shows readers that even in history’s unsavory moments, light can shine. It’s not always easy to read, but The Bright Unknown is entirely worth the discomfort. I highly, highly recommend it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own. ( )
  hes7 | Nov 12, 2019 |
In the dark and dusty hallway of the asylum lives a mother and daughter. I felt shivers race down my arms as I began to read this story . It is hard to imagine what it was like long ago to be in a place where there was no where to go. Day after day you see your mother tortured by the demons in her mind. Brighton grows up in this place where only the forgotten and unwanted are. There is no way this story will not get into the crevices of your mind as you weep and applaud the girl that wants to go beyond the four walls of a hospital.

There are so many secrets buried between the cracks of the hospital that it is frightening. Brighton overhears something about her friend Angel that shakes her to the core. It was hard to read how Brighton was treated when she threatened to tell what was going on. A young girl tied to a chair and treated like one of the patients became a nightmare that was hard to wake up from.

I enjoyed reading about Angel and Grace. I think with them being there with Brighton it helped her to cope with her need for stability. It was interesting to go back and forth in time and learn who Nell was. Each chapter is intense and the book consumed me. It was dark at times but the author is able to shine hope and forgiveness between the pages. Brighton wants so bad to live outside the hospital but knows it may never happen. You can feel her desperation to live a normal life as she accepts that she is trapped in a world where people are dropped off and forgotten.

The power the hospital has over their patients in this story is unimaginable. What person thinks it is right to sterilize women to prevent pregnancy against their will? How can they justify medication to keep patients quiet and out of touch with reality? This hospital is an example of what happened to people long ago when they knew very little about mental health. Trapped in their bodies were people needing love and compassion, but instead received cold shoulders and uncaring attitudes.

I don't think I have read a story that is so realistic as this one. The author has a knack for weaving characters that tear at your heart while at the same time wanting to pray for them. I am impressed with how the story flows so easily from the past to present. Along the way secrets are revealed that I didn't expect. The faith element is not overwhelming but with the perfect blend of hope. It is easy to get so caught up in the story that everything around you becomes a blur. The selfishness by adults in this book is deplorable. They were more worried about what others would think instead of accepting their own child. I have heard about getting lost in the system, but this became more of a cover up.

There is a big significance in the meaning of names in this book. I know that I have never liked my name because people usually pronounce it wrong. What if you have always been called by a particular name only to find out it was not your given name? This is a big part of the story which I was fascinated by. A name is one's identity and it stays with you forever.

The journey the author takes us on is one I will never forget. I couldn't wait to see if Grace would ever be found or what happens to Angel. One decision make by different people change the lives of three very important characters in this story. I admire the author for the way she is able to take words and create a story that gives you hope, forgiveness and most of all peace.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion. ( )
  Harley0326 | Nov 12, 2019 |
“But I am ready to find those buried souls and love them and remind anyone who will listen that the invisible still exist.”

Every once in a while, an author comes along who transforms the genre with work that is exquisitely written and original. This is one of the most exciting moments for book reviewers, finding a diamond among the other gems. There are few Christian books that I choose to review that I end up truly not liking, but even so, certain ones sincerely rise above the rest. Elizabeth Younts’ “The Bright Unknown” definitely makes this exceptional list.

From the moment I began reading, I found myself mesmerized. Drawn into the life of the protagonist, Brighton, I was immediately absorbed and became more emotionally engaged with each page. Younts adeptly employs a dual timeline, recounting Brighton’s early life in the Riverside asylum in the early 1940s interspersed with scenes from her life at age 67. At first, the narrative projects a whimsical aura during Brighton’s adolescence, but the veil is removed early on, and the rest of the story exudes a sobering darkness. The author does not flinch away from the realities of twentieth-century mental asylums, yet relates them in a clean manner, demonstrating that unpleasant and even horrific happenings can be told without profanity or graphic detail. If there is one element that I would like to see changed, it would be to increase the faith aspect, which is subtle.

“The Bright Unknown” is haunting and will linger long after turning the final page, but not necessarily for the reasons that you might think. What makes this book shine is how thought-provoking it is. Instead of being outright terror-ridden like most asylum-based novels, this one lies more on the level of trauma. The trauma of losing one’s identity and the trauma of not knowing one’s identity in the first place. This story is rife with symbolism and layers of complexity. And I love that! The restraints are not always physical, but sometimes emotional as well. The characters’ psychological profiles drive the plot in more ways than one, entangling and interweaving them. Brighton’s situation is so unique and raises many questions regarding how we think about and relate to others, and what motivates us. I can’t say much without giving away plot points, but suffice it to say that “The Bright Unknown” resonates on a deep level because it speaks to our collective need to be known and loved. And the good news is that we are and always have been by the One who created us and who calls us into a relationship with Him, regardless of our circumstances.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own. ( )
  Stardust_Fiddle | Nov 11, 2019 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 12) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu
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Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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Alkuteoksen nimi
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Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
Henkilöt/hahmot
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Tärkeät tapahtumat
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Omistuskirjoitus
Ensimmäiset sanat
Sitaatit
Viimeiset sanat
Erotteluhuomautus
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Alkuteoksen kieli
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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This poignant and heartbreaking novel explores the power of resilience, the gift of friendship, and the divine beauty to be found in the big, bright world--if only we're willing to look. Pennsylvania, 1940s. The only life Brighton Friedrich has ever known is the one she has endured within the dreary walls of Riverside Home--the rural asylum where she was born. A nurse, Joann, has educated and raised Brighton, whose mother is a patient at the hospital. But Joann has also kept vital information from Brighton--secrets that if ever revealed would illuminate Brighton's troubling past and the circumstances that confine her to Riverside. Brighton's best friend is a boy she calls Angel, and as they grow up together and face the bleak future that awaits them, they determine to make a daring escape. Nothing can prepare Brighton and Angel for life beyond Riverside's walls. They have no legal identities, very little money, and only a few leads toward a safe place to land. As they struggle to survive in a world they've never seen before, they must rely on each other and the kindness of strangers--some of whom may prove more dangerous than the asylum they've fled. Narrated in Elizabeth Byler Yount's gorgeous style, The Bright Unknown is a sparkling search for answers, family, and a place to call home. Praise for The Bright Unknown: "With prose that is luminous and lyrical, The Bright Unknown is a compelling read from the first page to the last." --Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Last Year of the War

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