I would not have chosen this book but for the recommendation of a friend. I am glad I did. It is a wonderful book that brings into the open the hidden fears and stereotype around historic mental asylums. That most of the hidden fears are valid made this read the more interesting. It’s truth based on fact. A boy named Malcolm is dumped at the asylum to fend for himself. His strength of character is all that helps him survive in those atrocious conditions. What a wonderful tale of survival. Colonial New Zealand in the early 20th Century. I never knew how many ‘unfortunate’ people were shipped by their relations from UK to NZ, to live in an insane asylum if they could not make it on their own. Or that homosexuality, diabetes, even insomnia was considered a mental illness to warrant shock treatment. These stories and more are given voice in this great read. Well done, Susan Tarr, for bringing this history out.