Woman 99 by Greer Macallister

Imagine… being sent away for having a strong opinion, being cast off from society simply because – they can. ~Sheila

When Charlotte’s sister Phoebe becomes a “disruption,” Phoebe’s future plans are suddenly thrown away when her parents make the decision to place her in an asylum for women. Charlotte knows in her heart this is not where Phoebe belongs. Deeply disturbed by her parents actions, Charlotte, unbeknownst to her family, creates her own act of craziness to be placed in the asylum as well to find her sister and free her.

Charlotte succeeds to be placed in the asylum, labeled as Woman 99. Her time in the asylum makes Charlotte aware that many of the women within these walls that were labeled insane, were merely more of an inconvenience. As days turn into weeks and more truth’s are brought to light, Charlotte realizes she has more to do then find and free her sister. There are many things wrong at Goldengrove Asylum, and many people will do anything to make certain these secrets remain just that.

My Thoughts…

Talk about engaging! Woman 99 was a a very interesting read that covered not only the asylum’s of this time, but also the importance of class, and identity. I enjoy Historical Fiction novels. They often give me a taste of a topic that leads to me digging in deeper and seeking out more on the subject.

I would say that Woman 99 is definitely a timely topic. In a world that does not seem to have a plan for what to do with the many ranges of mental illness of today, we see a very different world in the late 1800’s as in the setting of this book. Women were sent away for any number of reasons including – they just were not wanted and could be sent away by family as well as husbands. Heartbreaking really to think of anyone having the power to just dispose of someone who they found to be “in the way”.

I found the book to be interesting. Not a heavy read by any means, it is more of a telling of a family and the happenings surrounding a small time period in their lives. The dialogue was engaging. I loved Charlotte’s drive and fearlessness it took to put herself into a situation that was completely unknown.

I am interested in reading more by this author, and recently picked up a copy of her book The Magician’s Lie at our Friends of the Library used book sale.

Bookies Book Club Thoughts

Woman 99 came on my radar when Author Greer Macallister said yes to being one of our Author’s at this years Wine and Words event. Our Book Club enjoys reading the authors prior the event and this book won our vote to be read this April. Our discussion was a good one, centered around mental illness, and the very realness of such asylums in the late 1800’s. We also discussed how people are treated today with such illnesses and with no place for them to go that is safe in many communities, they are often labeled as trouble and can even be placed in jail.

Some of our discussion centered around –

1. What did we find to be the worst treatment at the asylum?

2. Would any of us be so daring as to do what Charlotte did?

3. In todays world how would you diagnose Phoebe?

4. Which woman’s story within the asylum spoke to you the most?

5. What did we know of asylums such as these prior to reading the book?

*The Author also included discussion questions on the back of the book.

8 thoughts on “Woman 99 by Greer Macallister

  1. I do love reading books and viewing movies that deal with terrible treatment of the mentally ill…or even people who are just different. These situations always get my “ire” up, and I think it’s good when we are led to researching and finding out more.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Women have born so much of life’s burdens over the centuries, it’s no wonder we sometimes “lose it.” I just listened to the NY Times Daily Podcast episode called something like the Agony of Parenting during the pandemic. It was heartbreaking to listen to the women who called in and the stress they have endured this past year.

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