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Halfway House by Katharine Noel

Halfway House

by Katharine Noel

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I found this book quite compelling at times, but wasn't that impressed with the story overall. The book centers on a family and the ramifications they face when the daughter, Angela, becomes mentally ill. Some of the passages are quite interesting, but overall, the story seemed flat. ( )
  justacatandabook | Mar 9, 2016 |
interesting read. for some reason i found it choppy, it didn't flow from chapter to chapter. but still good, deep characters. ( )
  lloyd1175 | Mar 22, 2014 |
The author meant this to be about a girl who is bipolar and how the family deals. I think they're all wack jobs. ( )
  E.J | Apr 3, 2013 |
The book started out strong and I thought it showed a very detailed and realistic example of a person who suffers from Bipolar disorder and it's affects it has on the friends and family surrounding them, but I felt the story was drawn out to long, and included a lot of irrelevant sub-plots that added nothing to the story, except that it caused me to lose my interest in it.

What I liked most about the book was how well Angie's character was written. She's portrayed very realistically, and the reader is easily able connect and understand her state of mind and her illness. The reader is taken through the ups and downs and all the ugly turns Angie is faced with as she struggles her way from a teenager to adulthood. The affects her illness has on her family were also wonderfully written, as a reader you are able to see different viewpoints and struggles her family faced - even the ones who you hated as characters were written extremely well when it came to Angie and her illness.

Unfortunately, I found that the other aspects of the book, sub-plots of affairs, glimpses of her family members lives and growing up were drawn out and focused on more than was needed. While some of it was needed to develop the story and characters, most could have been cut back and left out - I think I would have enjoyed the story more if I wasn't dragged through so much, nothingness. Overall a good book, and story, I had some issues, but it is worth reading.

Also on my book review blog Jules' Book Reviews - Halfway House ( )
  bookwormjules | Dec 31, 2011 |
Very good book. It was also extremely accurate. Not sure if I liked the parents but the two main characters were excellent
  shazjhb | Aug 16, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0802142915, Paperback)

Halfway House, Katharine Noel's triumphant debut, does far more than expose the highs and lows of battling mental illness; rather, it leaves readers with a sense of longing that transcends the subject matter. Told from the perspective of five family members, Noel expertly captures each character's essence with unapologetic honesty, creating sympathies that would falter under a less gifted writer. The result is a profound look at how a crisis can both destroy and reinvent a seemingly typical family.

Set in rural New Hampshire, Halfway House tells the story of the Voorster family, whose lives are upended when 17-year-old Angie suffers a breakdown and is eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As Angie shuffles between hospitals, dorm rooms, halfway houses, and her childhood home, the side effects of her disease and treatment impact each member of her family. Her father Pieter, a Dutch-born cellist, retreats into himself, while her mother Jordana begins an affair. Angie's brother Luke finds comfort in his girlfriends, especially Wendy, whom he meets while at college in Wisconsin. Eventually, familial relationships must be broken in order to be reinvented. In the process, family dynamics must shift, and each character must confront their own demons in order to emerge on the other side.

From One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest to Girl, Interrupted, the subject of mental illness is hardly uncharted in modern literature. What Noel does is go beyond the disease to explore the consequences of crisis, both punishing and redemptive, without compromise or excuses. That is what makes Halfway House a wonder, and a pleasure to behold. --Gisele Toueg

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:58 -0400)

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"One day, Angie Voorster - diligent student, all-star swimmer, and Ivy League-bound high school senior - dives to the bottom of a pool and stays there. In that moment, everything the Voorster family believes they know about one another changes. Katharine Noel's debut illuminates the fault lines in one family's relationships, as well as the complex emotional ties that bind them together." "Set in a small town in New Hampshire, Halfway House is the story of Angie's psychotic break and her family's subsequent turmoil. Angie is a charismatic young woman - brilliant, witty, and passionate - until she swings to manic highs or dangerous lows. Each of her family members responds differently to the ongoing crisis: her father Pieter, a Dutch-born professional cellist, retreats further into his career; her mother begins a destabilizing affair with a younger man; her younger brother, Luke, first distances himself as much as possible from his sister, then later drops out of college to be closer to her. And Luke's college girlfriend Wendy, who comes from a farming town in Iowa, provides an outsider's perspective on the family's teeter toward collapse. The Voorsters manage for a time to maintain a semblance of the normalcy they had "before," when they were the ideal New England family; it is not until Angie is finally able to fend for herself that the family is able to truly fall apart and then regather itself in a new, fundamentally changed way."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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