Tamar is aged seventeen. She is convinced that three years ago she killed her best friend Iris. This belief has led Tamar to find herself in a secure mental health hospital named Lime Grove. Since she has not been sectioned, she is free to leave any time she chooses. But Tamar is harming herself and nurturing suicidal thoughts. For these reasons she is encouraged to remain in hospital. Scott’s novel tells in the first person the story of Tamar’s long and arduous journey towards recovery.
Scott’s book is important. It is for example unusual in being a first person narrative. It is also unusual in daring to tackle a subject – breakdown of mental health – from which many authors would shrink in fear. The book is also sadly topical, since mental health problems among young people are becoming more widespread. Almost everyone knows some young person who has been afflicted to some extent in this way. But the book must come with a warning note. It contains some passages in which self-harm and the contemplation of suicide are vividly depicted. But be prepared, the book’s power comes from its candour.