Approximately a dozen hours of listening, narrated by Tavia Gilbert.

First, being that this is an audiobook, I’ll address an opinion of narration. An initial reaction is ‘ugh’ and rolling of eyes. What She Left Behind should be clearly identified as a young adult novel. The narration is high pitched, valley-girly, very youngish sounding. I’ve no idea, but Tavia Gilbert sounds like she might tip being 20 years old. She also over emotes a great deal, over acts, over enunciates. You either like or dislike this type of voicing. Very annoying, for me.

Secondly, that part of the story taking place in the 1920s is disturbing. A beautiful young woman is committed to an insane asylum by her overly controlling parents. She’s as sane as you or I.  The descriptions of this time and place is well done, and an upsetting account of the treatment of the mentally ill at the time. I’ve no idea how much of this is historical fact or creative license on the part of the author … but, it’s horrid. Apparently anyone could easily be committed to an asylum, i.e., disgruntled parents, spouses. Chilling.

Seventy years later, in 1995, the lead character is a 17 year old high-school senior, tasked by a foster parent to help catalogue the contents of suitcases retrieved from … wait for it … an insane asylum. The high-school senior has her own issues, i.e., bullying at school and dealing with the murder of her father by her subsequently institutionalized mother.

This is a decent plot, the story intriguing. Suggest listening to the sample before investing … you may find the narration a bit grating.




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