Author: Kim Fielding
Narrator:: K.C. Kelly
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 7 Hours and 26 Minutes
At a Glance: Kim Fielding has delivered an outstanding story well worth reading, and K.C. Kelly delivers an excellent performance of The Tin Box!
Reviewed By: Kim
Blurb: William Lyon’s past forced him to become someone he isn’t. Conflicted and unable to maintain the charade, he separates from his wife and takes a job as caretaker at a former mental hospital. Jelley’s Valley State Insane Asylum was the largest mental hospital in California for well over a century, but it now stands empty. William thinks the decrepit institution is the perfect place to finish his dissertation and wait for his divorce to become final. In town, William meets Colby Anderson, who minds the local store and post office. Unlike William, Colby is cute, upbeat, and flamboyantly out. Although initially put off by Colby’s mannerisms, William comes to value their new friendship, and even accepts Colby’s offer to ease him into the world of gay sex.
William’s self-image begins to change when he discovers a tin box, hidden in an asylum wall since the 1940s. It contains letters secretly written by Bill, a patient who was sent to the asylum for being homosexual. The letters hit close to home, and William comes to care about Bill and his fate. With Colby’s help, he hopes the words written seventy years ago will give him courage to be his true self.
Review: Lynn wrote such a lovely review of The Tin Box two years ago that I knew eventually I would have to break down and read it. It’s been sitting on my TBR shelf forever, but lo and behold, it came out in audiobook too! For me, it’s so much better when a story is read to me. Especially if it has content in it that might disturb me, angst filled parts that I would normally skim over and miss something important because I can’t take it anymore. Audiobooks force me to slow down and really get the full impact of a story.
I’m a bit biased when it comes to mental asylums, since I’ve had a family member who’s been in and out of them since he was seventeen. He’s now sixty-two and is residing in one, in their dementia and brain trauma unit. Mental hospitals have come a long way since I first visited him in one when I was eleven years old, and yes, there are some abuses that still occur with patients if family or advocates are not on their toes and looking out for them.
I was so impressed by the way William used Bill’s letters to motivate him into leaving his comfort zone and become more confidant as a gay man. Colby was such a tease as he flirted with William, and I loved how these two interacted with each other. I felt the emotion in Bill’s voice as K.C. Kelly read Bill’s letters and related all the abuses he’ suffered through. Some, but not all, of the description of the asylum brought back some pretty painful and sad memories as a kid visiting one of those places. As you can probably tell, Bill kind of holds a special spot in my heart, as well as all the others who have been placed voluntarily, or involuntarily, in mental hospitals. So many are left in these places and then forgotten.
Kim Fielding has delivered an outstanding story well worth reading, and K.C. Kelly delivers an excellent performance of The Tin Box! Once again he did a wonderful job with all the characters’ voices.
You can buy The Tin Box here: