Mar 14, 2008

Becoming Anna

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


  1. It sounds as though you have a very busy wkend ahead of you! It is always so nice to add a bit of newness and brighten things up with a fresh coat of pain! So well worth all the work!

  2. Ok, totally ignore the above comment! Ugh! I was commenting on another blog, but for some reason it wasn't coming up. So I came to read your blog and was going to comment on your Becoming Anna post and when I reopened the window, it was still displaying the other blog. I know, I am rambling, so I will shush up now, lol!
    As I was going to comment on Becoming Anna, this sounds like a very painful story. It does sound interesting and I will have to add it to my list of books to read.

  3. Quite all right, April! I've made similar errors before. Would like to hear what you think of this book after you read it.

  4. Anonymous5/21/2011

    For insight into what was likely Anna's real underlying problem, research borderline personality disorder. Sadly, despite her obvious gifts, Anna matches this very difficult and painful disorder 10/10. As you noted, Anna consistently "splits" people into either all good or all bad, with very, very little middle ground. This is a strong indicator of BPD - there are others, also evident in her book. BPD is very difficult to treat but some newer therapeutic methods can lessen its effects. I hope Anna gets the help she needs and lives a happier life in the future.


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