The Museum of Us
By Tara Wilson Redd
Published June 26, 2018 by Random House/Wendy Lamb Books
The Museum of Us is a poignant look at dreams, fantasies, and mental illness. Sadie is a teenage girl with what seems like an enviable life. She has loving parents, a great best friend, and a sweet rock star boyfriend. But she lives her life mostly in her head. She has another best friend named George. He’s basically her imaginary friend, but the intense fantasy life she has developed feels completely real to her.
Sadie and George go on elaborate adventures. Climbing Mount Everest, spy adventures, reenacting the Harry Potter books. They are best friends and perhaps something more. Only George isn’t real. As Sadie says, “Well, I just… think about it. And then the thinking becomes daydreaming and the whole world fades away and I’m with George.”
When Sadie is in a car accident, she wakes up in the hospital disoriented and asks for George. She ends up being sent to the psych ward for observation, and the psychiatrist keeps asking, “Who is George?” Sadie tries to convince them she’s not crazy, but every time she talks to the psychiatrist, she’s in danger of revealing her secrets. Another teenaged patient warns Sadie that if she reveals her secrets, the doctors will take them away and she’ll be left with nothing: “They steal your dreams here.”
This book is an interesting look at why someone might want to escape their life and the kind of trauma that makes a fantasy better than reality. I found the idea of being so caught up in a fantasy life that you basically zone out really interesting, and it’s fascinating how Sadie’s detachment from reality has affected her life. It’s a somewhat sad book, but there’s also hope for the future.
I received an ARC from Amazon Vine.