Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Rubber Fence (Review & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: The Rubber Fence
Author: Diana Stevan
Publisher: Island House Publishing
Published Date: 3rd March 2016
Rating: 3 Stars

*Thanks to the author for the review copy*

 Synopsis: It's 1972. Women are breaking out, families are breaking down, and men are trying to hold on for the ride. 


Dr. Joanna Bereza is a psychiatric intern who wants to have it all: a career, a loving marriage, and a family, but her passion to do what's right sets her against a system that's as stuck as the people it treats. 

On ward 2B, Joanna becomes obsessed with the treatment of two women: a mute young mother suspected of trying to kill her baby and a feisty old woman who's been through the mill one too many times. Blinded by her obsession, Joanna not only neglects her own husband, but in trying to stop her patients from getting shock treatment, she also puts her career in jeopardy. Further complicating matters is the seductive senior resident who looks more like a hip rock star than an aspiring shrink. Shadowing Joanna's work is her own unresolved grief over something that happened when she was a child. 

The Rubber Fence was inspired by the author's experience as a family therapist on a psychiatric ward.

Review: The Rubber Fence by Diana Stevan is the second book of hers that I have read. Her works never fail me because they are usually meaningful, and beautifully written as well. Both of the books of hers that I have read involve romance, but not in the way that makes it overwhelming for the rest of the plot.

This is a historical fiction book set in 1972. It appears a lot of things were happening at that time. Women were just starting to step up in their rights and work in higher positions than they were previously allowed before. Electric shock therapy was finally being questioned in the psychiatry units. Those are the two main things that this book focuses on – especially as the main character, Joanna, is a woman working in a psychiatry unit who wants to try a new approach that doesn’t involve electric shocks to patients.

It was kind of difficult hearing about the way she was treated sometimes. Either men were putting her down and regarding her voice as inferior and unimportant, or they were simply trying it on. I do think it was all realistic though. I also liked how Joanna was such a strong and stubborn character. Sure, it did make for a flaw sometimes when she couldn’t see beyond her own decisions, but at other times it really brought her character to life.


I found it especially interesting to learn about the reasons why different people were drawn to the ward. You get the insight into quite a few background stories of patients and it makes me think about what truly pushes people over the edge and into madness. How can we even define madness? It sometimes makes me marvel how someone can be given a person, a situation and their emotions and discover whether they have a mental illness, or are feeling depressed or have actually been pushed over the brink. This book definitely had me thinking about that.

We don’t only get the focus on Joanna here. Seeing as it is told in third person we sometimes switch the focus to other characters. Through different lenses we learn that things are rough all over. Everyone is hurting in some way or feeling like they are being mistreated. Occasionally they know their role in making it this way, and in others they don’t. I think that’s what it must be in real life – rough all over. Another theme that the book manages to portray perfectly.


I felt like the beginning half of this book was rather slow. It wasn’t boring, but in comparison to the second half I wasn’t as invested at all. By the time I crossed the 50% threshold I was head over heels immersed in the story and wanting to know how it was going to end. Suddenly, there were twists all over the place that I hadn’t seen coming. The idea of things being rough all over amped up a notch. Or maybe even a few notches!

The ending of this book left me incredibly satisfied. When I read the acknowledgements I was surprised to see that this is based on a true story. Of course, the characters are fictional but Diana Stevan herself worked in a psychiatry unit in her past. And I learned that electric shock therapy is still being used in some places today – something I personally see as unacceptable.

I learned a lot from this book and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing what Stevan writes next!

The twistedness and escalation had me wondering how everything would pan out. I was definitely satisfied with the ending.

Giveaway! Enter to win an ebook copy of The Rubber Fence. Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Olivia’s Question: Did you know electric shock therapy was still being used? Do you approve or not?

Olivia-Savannah x

23 comments:

  1. Sounds both interesting and unnerving... mental health problems are a) complex, b) misunderstood, and c) under-funded.

    I'm glad to see some discussion, but think that there's as many ways to treat mental illness as there are patients.

    A lot of people criticise meds, for example, but my meds have given me the chance to get better - and I know that the distress would've been too much without them. Other people just can't get on with meds - and that's fine too. Some people advocate hospital stays at the drop of a hat, while others think there shouldn't be mental health units at all.

    I think that mental health units are important, both for the safety of the patient and others, but that they shouldn't be the first option. That said... there definitely needs to be more beds. Like I said - complex.

    Discussion is the way forward though - thanks for reviewing this book Olivia :)

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    1. I know what you mean. A lot of mental health problems are hard to fully grasp but in times things are getting better in terms of being understood. And it is difficult when what works for one person doesn't quite work for someone else... but I am glad that some of the treatment available has been able to help you. And like this book suggests, more beds would be wanted!

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    2. Everyone *is* different - so everyone needs different treatment. V difficult when the treatment all comes from the same place! :)

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  2. I love that we get to pick your next read. You Rock! I hope you choose mine...

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  3. Olivia, thank you for your thoughtful review. I'm glad you found the ending satisfying.

    I agree with Cee. Mental health problems are underfunded and misunderstood. And as Cee points out, for some, drugs have helped immeasurably. When I first worked in mental health, I was naive and anti medication but quickly learned what a godsend it is for many. Like anything, one size doesn't fit all.

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    1. Thanks for giving me a copy to review <3 I think you're doing a great job of getting people going about mental health and the treatment of it.

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  4. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity. This does sound very sad, but I'm glad she was a stronger woman. Many people, once they made it into a place like that, couldn't seem to get out no matter what they said or did. Nice review!
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. Yes, I could really appreciate the strength in her character and how she developed as events took place :)

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  5. [ Smiles ] Another book that is worth reading!

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  6. I have a soft spot for any mental health issue books. Though this does sound interesting, it looks kind of dark? Hmm, I'll have to see about this one. Though, you always make me want to go grab a book and read it. Lovely review!

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    1. I feel like I made it out to be a bit more dark than it really is, but it is a pretty twisted read! Thanks Lekeisha <3

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  7. I didn't know electric shock therapy was still being used today. It is a crude and cruel way to treat patients. An easy way out for doctors who don't want to do their job and that is to heal. Electric shock is not healing, it is inflicting pain. On another note, your review piqued my interest. I love heroine who fights for what she wants.

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    1. I know what you mean and agree about it being an easy way out! It was surprising when I learned that it is still being used in some places as well. I think this is a book which would suit your tastes, Lidy!

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  8. have i mentioned how much i love your picks of books lately? so varied. this book looks like a tough read to get through, but mental health is not an easy topic to discuss. i'm glad the author gave a deeper perspective into the disease and likewise, treatments. because nowadays, not many would be so courageous.

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    1. Ahaha thank you <3 I've always liked reading a little of everything. The author handles all of this perfectly well.

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  9. That picture quote is spot one. Sounds like an emotional one.

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    1. I chose it because I fully agreed with it myself.

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  10. Wow, this sounds like an amazing book. Your review is excellent also! I wish I had the skills to get some of the options you have on my blog.

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  11. Thank you for the giveaway! Subscribed to your YouTube Channel. :)
    Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. Thank you for subscribing and sharing <3

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