Of Angel And Grace
The Bright Unknown by Elizabeth Byler Younts is a powerful, moving and heart breaking Christian historical tale. I am not ashamed to say that the tears fell as I read some of the truly horrifying scenes of great cruelty from those who were supposed to care for the most vulnerable.
The novel has two timelines – 1990 and 1937 moving forwards to 1941. It is told through the eyes of one woman born into the state asylum. The reader becomes completely entwined into the story as we witness the appalling and barbaric treatment. State asylums were places of great cruelty. People were incarcerated into them and left, abandoned by the world and their families in the misguided belief that it was ‘best’ for them. The world was a cruel place – people were placed into these institutions for terrible reasons as disability was not understood but feared and seen as a stigma. Women and children had few rights and these could be overridden by domineering males in society. “See the person behind the frightened eyes. Not just the diagnosis.” The inmates were all people in need of love, care and attention. They did not deserve to be treated so abominably.Continue reading