by Anna Michener
This memoir was written when the author was sixteen. In it, she describes her life up until the point when she was adopted by the Michener family and changed her name from Tiffany to Anna. She describes a childhood of being emotionally and physically abused by her family, then spending most of her teenage years in two separate mental institutions. Most of the book is a horrendous account of inside the mental hospitals- relating all kinds of atrocities (over-medication, incessant verbal abuse, unwarranted and severe punishments) and describing in detail the other teenage patients. All the patients are portrayed as being misunderstood and wrongly placed there; while the adults- doctors, parents and teachers are painted in a negative light. I questioned whether it could have really been so black and white. At the same time, this book resonates with so much pain, anger and bitterness that I have no doubt the author is describing things as she saw and felt.
The ending seemed to wrap up a little too quickly. There were some gaps in the story. Perhaps it was just things she didn't feel comfortable sharing, but I felt there must have been a way to fill in the holes and make it more complete. Full of detailed descriptions, colorful language and sardonic commentary, Becoming Anna is a painful yet very compelling book.
Rating: 3/5 ........ Published: 1999, pp 264