She lives in the hospital and is raised by the director and his wife. The interesting thing about this hospital is that it is a real life hospital - however the story is mostly fictional.
The story line is about Evalina and her friends who live in the hospital or work at the hospital. The book is well written and includes many factual instances about the hospital - like the fire that happened.
While Evalina is the main character, Zelda Fitzgerald (wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald) makes an appearance several times throughout the book as she truly did live at the hospital during her life span. Evalina gives her impressions on Zelda periodically as well as the art that Zelda created.
The reason I wanted to read the book is because it included mental hospitals from the early 1900s. For some reason I have a fascination (albeit morbid!) regarding mental institutions and how they treated their patients. For example they gave them insulin shock treatments, lobotomies, and electric shock therapy.
The one thing I found annoying was that the director of the hospital kept telling Evalina all about the personal health information (PHI) of the different patients that Evalina interacted with. I know that PHI and HIPAA laws weren't around back then, but sheez, Evalina was privy to patient medical details that she should have never had access to. Maybe I am extra sensitive about this because at the hospital where I work we are required to take PHI and HIPAA training on a yearly basis. It is drilled into us. I don't know if the author was using the doctor as a way to tell about the other patients in the hospital, but we could have been made aware of the other patients medical details in this book through a doctor to doctor conversation versus a doctor to child/patient relationship. Like I said, it probably irked me because I work in a hospital!
Despite that, I really did like the book. If you like historical fiction - you should give it a try.
Rating: 8 / 10
Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Edition: 1st Edition