Book Review of Riven Rock

Riven Rock
Riven Rock
Author: T. Coraghessan Boyle
Genre: Literature & Fiction
Book Type: Paperback
reviewed on + 9 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2


I love T C Boyle's writing. The story is interesting as a semi-fictionalized account of the courtship and marriage between scientist and suffragette Katherine Dexter and millionaire heir, Stanley McCormick. The drama unfolds when soon after marrying in 1904, Stanley is diagnosed schizophrenic, and Katherine hires a string of psychiatrists to treat his violent and delusional reactions to women. The book gives some great insight into the state of psychiatric theory and treatment of mental illness in the 1920's and onward, if only in regards to the private treatment of the mentally ill of privileged society. As well, set against the backdrop of the story of a woman coping with her marriage to a mentally ill husband, is a fascinating, if fictionalized account of Katherine's actual contributions to the woman's movement.

But as great as the story is, I did expect more from Boyle, and from this book. His historical research is dead on, but the 'fiction' part does get bogged down at times. As well, the ending is rather disappointing and a bit anti-climatic.