Title: The Form of Things Unknown
Author: Robin Bridges
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Number of pages: 304
Honest, nuanced, and bittersweet, The Form of Things Unknown explores the shadows that haunt even the truest hearts…and the sparks that set them free.
Natalie Roman isn’t much for the spotlight. But performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a stately old theatre in Savannah, Georgia, beats sitting alone replaying mistakes made in Athens. Fairy queens and magic on stage, maybe a few scary stories backstage. And no one in the cast knows her backstory.
Except for Lucas—he was in the psych ward, too. He won’t even meet her eye. But Nat doesn’t need him. She’s making friends with girls, girls who like horror movies and Ouija boards, who can hide their liquor in Coke bottles and laugh at the theater’s ghosts. Natalie can keep up. She can adapt. And if she skips her meds once or twice so they don’t interfere with her partying, it won’t be a problem. She just needs to keep her wits about her.
“The lunatic, the lover and the poet
Are of imagination all compact:
One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,
That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,
Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
-Theseus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, act 5, scene 1
Natalie Roman is trying to regain her life. After getting admitted to a psych ward, moving from Athens to Savannah, all she wanted were her secrets to be kept, have new friends, and live a new and “normal” life again.
This book is my second read from Miss Robin Bridges. I have read Dreaming of Antigone, which is a companion of this novel. The Form of Things Unknown is a story of one of Andria’s – from Dreaming of Antigone – friend. Though there’s no need to read Dreaming of Antigone first before reading The Form of Things Unknown.
If Dreaming of Antigone is a retelling of Antigone which is related to Greek mythology, The Form of Things Unknown is somehow related to The Midsummer Night’s Dream, a play written by William Shakespeare. I liked both stories but I enjoyed The Form of Things Unknown more.
The first thing I noticed and liked is how Miss Robin Bridges discussed mental-illness. It’s the same on what she did with Dreaming of Antigone. Miss Robin Bridges’ way of talking about mental issues – the story behind those, how they are triggered, what are some effects, some do’s and don’ts – and the way she portrays it is great. From the very beginning, you’ll immediately see and feel that this isn’t just a story of a “normal” teenager. You’ll see her life – the way she think, the way she act, what she had become, the effect of this illness.
Another thing is the family dynamics. Natalie’s family is far from perfect. Her Grandmother has schizophrenia – which became worse when she decided not to take her medicines anymore after Natalie’s grandfather died. David – Natalie’s older brother – is gay but he’s not out yet. Natalie herself has a mental problem and at times, having hallucinations. So her parents need to deal with all of this altogether. The family is open when it comes to the mental-illness that some of them have or may have. And their family is strong. They bend, but they do not break.
Plus I definitely enjoyed that Nat and his brother are in a theatre play. I barely know anything about theatre and the life behind those curtains. And this book showed and thought me so many things which I truly enjoyed. There were times when while I was in a theatre at our uni, I always think of this book. I can picture the people of this book in the stage. Every scene, the set, the characters; I imagined them all as real simply because Robin Bridges made me felt that they were.
The characters at first were just okay but I eventually liked some of them. Each has a story to tell, though I can’t say that they all caught my interest.
The romance in this book isn’t one like the romance I always encounter in a book, especially with a book that talks about mental issues. I like how the story isn’t just focused on the romance. Instead, it is still focused on Nat and her life, on how she needs to fix some certain issues in her life on her own. Lucas is just the same. He also has some certain issues that he needs to fix on his own. And I love how Miss Robin Bridges did not use their relationship to be a “cure” to their problems. I like how realistic the story went. Robin Bridges showed that “love” isn’t the cure to make your life better and your mental health stable unlike some other authors do.
The book was ended in a way I was really not expecting. The revelation at the end spiced things up.
The Form of Things Unknown made me wonder what’s real and what isn’t. I loved how a book can play with one’s mind and made her doubt everything. If things were real or not, you’ll struggle to know.
The only weakness of this book is the writing. I find it hard to feel at some times. It feels so weak and it isn’t written in a way that can amaze or impressed me. The writing is okay but okay isn’t enough. It is the reason why I took off a star and the reason why I can’t say that I’ll definitely recommend it. The narration didn’t worked for me well, it’s the same thing happened on Dreaming of Antigone. Maybe the writing style is the thing that the author really needs to change or improve. But despite of this, I still liked and enjoyed the story, anyway.
Overall, I enjoyed it, especially the characters that were hard not to love. It is a quick read. And I like how Miss Robin Bridges discussed some mental-issues. Some certain mental issues that were mentioned and talked about were well played. When it comes to discussions about mental issues, Robin Bridges is one of the persons I’ll be happy to talk with. And the characters from the Dreaming of Antigone to The Form of Things Unknown are really realistic and relatable. I am just not that fond of the writing. It isn’t very well and not quite impressive. It’s just plain okay.
The crazy is still there, right under the surface.
By day, Robin Bridges is a mild mannered writer of young adult fiction. By night, she is a pediatric nurse, poking small children with needles for a living. She lives on the Gulf Coast with her family and an ever-growing menagerie of cats, dogs, tropical fish, and parrots. But alas, she still does not have a unicorn.
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*Thank you very much Miss Robin Bridges for providing me a copy in exchange of an honest book review. The book received has nothing to do with my review.