Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Spoilers ahead!!!

Since I heard the movie was good, and the book is ALWAYS better than the movie, I dug up my copy of Shutter Island. Read in less than a day, there's now no way I can go see the movie. The book was fantastic and I'll just be disappointed in the movie version.

Shutter Island is a place where the criminally insane are kept. Teddy Daniels, a US Marshal, and his partner, Chuck Aule, end up there investigating a missing patient. They talk to the staff, the patients and investigate the island as much as they can. What they come away with is: similar to Nazi's experimenting on Jews, the staff of Shutter Island is performing radical experiments on its patients and creating "ghosts". They are seeking Rachel Solando, who killed her 3 children by drowning them. She believes she didn't and that her children are alive and happy somewhere.

If someone is said to be insane, and they protest vehemently that they are not insane, does that show their insaneness? Teddy is on the verge of cracking, having lost his wife in a fire, set by Andrew Laeddis. He misses his wife and has more than once wondered why he hasn't died yet. Instead of suicide, he has a death wish. He knows that Laeddis is on the island and goes to get his revenge.

Spoilers are coming....beware.

Chuck isn't Teddy's partner. Chuck is a doctor at Shutter Island. Teddy's wife didn't die in a fire. Teddy killed her after she killed their 3 children. Which makes Teddy....? A patient named Andrew Laeddis. Who the hell saw that coming???

Dr. Crawley and Dr. Sheehan (Chuck) staged an elaborate role playing game for Andrew, in hopes that he would come to the realization of who he is. None of the what we read was real. It was all a play, written by Andrew, acting out his fantasies to avoid the reality of murdering his wife and letting his children die at the hands of their insane mother.

Andrew comes to his senses, realizing what he is. But we're not left with closure in this book as Andrew regresses back to Teddy and the threat of a neutralizing lobotomy is in his immediate future.
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