HALFWAY HOUSE by Katharine Noel

NoelI read about Halfway House, by Katharine Noel, in Working Mother magazine.  Here is the short review: “Ivy League-bound daughter Angie swims to the bottom of the family pool — and stays there. This crisis heralds dramatic changes for a suburban family as they struggle to cope with mental illness and the loss of their dreams.

The Curled Up With a Good Book website writes about Halfway House:

Author Katharine Noel’s strength is her ability to portray Angie’s inner turmoil, spanning most of her young adult life and its world of bleak, stark and uncompromising hospital wards where there is little to do but smoke and vegetate in front of the television. The author excels in showing Angie’s conflicted and obsessed inner life: “her thoughts like water bugs, skating rapidly over the surface of water – a sink trapped and blind and hitting the angles.”… The drama comes from Noel’s ability to intuit the everyday, where mental illness has unfortunately become just a fact of life for this family. It is a testament to the nature of the tragedy that, over the years, the Voorsters fail to find that much comfort from each other.

Entertainment Weekly (subscription may be required) cautions that the book is a bit formulaic and Oprah-ready, but also gives it a B+ and says that “[t]he novel also suggests — with its thoughtful characterizations and graceful prose — that Noel is capable of doing something more interesting.”

If you’re interested in mental illness and the effect that it can have on a family from a number of perspectives, this book might be worth a try.