Today we welcome Isobel Blackthorn to share hers thoughts on Gerri R. Gray’s THE AMNESIA GIRL. Thanks for sharing with us, Isobel! You can learn more about Isobel at her website. If you have an original review you’d like to share with Horror After Dark please click HERE!
Filled with copious amounts of black humor, Gerri R. Gray’s first published novel is an offbeat adventure story that could be described as One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest meets Thelma and Louise. Flashback to 1974. Farika is a lovely young woman who wakes up one day to find herself a patient in a bizarre New York City psychiatric asylum. She has no idea who she is, and possesses no memories of where she came from nor how she got there. Fearing for her life after being attacked by a berserk girl with over one hundred personalities and a vicious nurse with sadistic intentions, the frightened amnesiac teams up with an audacious lesbian with a comically unbalanced mind, and together they attempt a daring escape. But little do they know that a long strange journey into an even more insane world filled with a multitude of perilous predicaments and off-kilter individuals are waiting for them on the outside. Farika’s weird reality crumbles when she finally discovers who, and what, she really is!
The Amnesia Girl is an off the wall read that grips the reader from the first. The narration is so good, two paragraphs in and I had to set my kindle aside and pace the floor, waiting for my excitement to settle.
Meet a whacky and terrifying array of mental patients in a New York asylum, trumped by the even whackier and sinister psychiatric nurse and doctor in charge of them all.
Set in the 1970s, the story opens on protagonist, Farika, who has no memory of who she is:
“But whatever memories her brain might have retained of her now-forgotten past were as grayish-white opaque as the smokestack clouds that rose high into the air with the promise of forming into something substantial, only to dissipate into nothingness.”
To my mind, such writing is pure gold.
An early reference to Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar sets the tone for what unfolds, although Gray’s The Amnesia Girl is the earlier work’s alter ego, the antidote to all the suffering and injustice mental patients are forced to endure.
Thankfully, Farika and her friend, Mara, manage to escape, and they embark on a wild ride from New York to San Francisco, encountering many bizarre characters along the way, from prostitutes to religious fruit loops to radical extremists; everyone’s a nut job, no one can be trusted and the macabre is around every corner. At times, I was thinking Tarantino or the Coen brothers, others of Rocky Horror, and yes of course, Thelma and Louise. Above all, Gray has captured a slice of vintage USA with a hilarity that charms and a narration that glows. There are plenty of twists and turns as the plot drives forward, heading towards a satisfying ending when things come together and wrap themselves up in a tight knot.
Told in witty and vivid prose with superb characterization, The Amnesia Girl never misses a beat. I don’t want to have to defend horror, but I suspect if you want to find out where all the literary fiction authors are hanging out after being rejected time and again by publishers, it’s leaning against a graffitied wall of some dark alley, conjuring dread and revulsion. The Amnesia Girl is another demonstration of the places women writers of horror take the genre. An absolute delight!
About The Author
Residing in Upstate New York, Gerri R. Gray is a published novelist, poet, and photographer. Her debut novel, The Amnesia Girl, was published by HellBound Books in October of 2017. Her collection of dark poetry, short horror stories and graveyard photography, Gray Skies of Dismal Dreams, was published in April of 2018. Gerri also compiled and edited an all-women horror anthology called, The Graveyard Girls, which was published in June of 2018. Her poetry and short horror stories have appeared in a number of literary journals and anthologies. She is currently working on a second novel.
Visit Gerri at her website: