Secrets of Edenfield by Loni Hoots
While Edenfield is not a real institution, it was inspired by multiple different actual institutions from around the world. These institutions from her research are no longer in operation. According to the author, she came across intriguing yet horrible information about the extreme mistreatments and misconducts suffered by these institutionalized patients.Amazon USA
SECRETS OF EDENFIELD Paperback – January 2, 2023 by LONI HOOTS (Author)
- Publisher : Cyberwit.net (January 2, 2023)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 171 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9395224517
- ISBN-13 : 978-9395224512
- Item Weight : 9.9 ounces
Reviewed by LB Sedlacek
Loni Hoots has created a novel that imagines and illustrates characters in mental institutions. While the characters are made up by her, they are based on photos of random but real patients as well as information she gleaned while studying such patients. These characters are written in such a way that they are meant to represent the real life patients she found and discovered in her research. The situations, places, and events in the novel are also meant to represent the cruelty of these institutions that patients were forced to call home. This is, however, a fictionalized story.
While Edenfield is not a real institution, it was inspired by multiple different actual institutions from around the world. These institutions from her research are no longer in operation. According to the author, she came across intriguing yet horrible information about the extreme mistreatments and misconducts suffered by these institutionalized patients.
The author cleverly divides her book into patient files, discovery, etc. Many of the chapters are written in such a way as they seem like actual case files.
From Chapter “1914”:
“Tomi picked up the shovel he had laid on the ground, then held
Fairy’s hand as they stood there in silence staring at the freshly
covered grave. They both knew that if they ever spoke a word of this
they would be done for good. In that moment of silence, they both
agreed to never speak of it, they would never mention his name, nor
would they ever entertain those who dared to mutter his name in their
presence. Although she was content with this, Fairy felt in the deep
parts of her stomach that Tomi would never let her forget about this
Hoots is able to swirl her words into images and then into these characters and their lives so much so that it all seems very real as if you’re reading a newspaper article or watching a newscast online or on TV. Her writing grabs the reader’s attention and holds it, never letting go. Each scene in the book captures the characters vulnerabilities, what they are thinking or feeling, as well as the intense shock at the way they are treated (mis-treated) and held against their will.
This is raw, sharp work that will send shudders down your spine. The sensations you feel are real. The feelings in turn are gut wrenching and often terrible when you imagine the suffering these characters (or someone in real life) could’ve endured.
Hoots gives the reader a glimpse into a rather gritty and sadly real world. No one should have the right to determine someone else’s fate without just cause and certainly there’s no room for abuse if such justification exists.
This story is brave. This story is also necessary. This is a story you simply must read to see it for yourself.
~LB Sedlacek is the author of “The Blue Eyed Side,” “Night Swim,” “The Poet Next Door,” “Simultaneous Submissions,” “Ghost Policy,” “Words and Bones,” “Swim,” “Four Thieves of Vinegar & Other Short Stories,” and “The Jackalope Committee & Other Short Stories.”