Author: Ari B. Goelman.
Lauren has a disorder that makes her believe everything her friends tell her–and she believes everyone is her friend. Her innocence puts her at constant risk, so when she gets the opportunity to have an operation to correct her condition, she seizes it. But after the surgery, Lauren is changed. Is she a paranoid lunatic with violent tendencies? Or a clear-eyed observer of the world who does what needs to be done?
Yet another story fails to live up to a great premise.
I do really like the format; some readers don’t like framing devices, but I’ve always felt like a good one can add a lot to the atmosphere and to the story. The Innocence Treatment is both a series of diary entries written by the main character, and a book annotated and published by her sister, which provides for some cool footnotes. And the ambiguous ending.
But the actual story? So-so. Lauren is a bland personality. The dystopian aspect is hugely important to the overall story, yet we have very few details there.
The side-characters she interacts with are even flatter, up to and including her boyfriend. The whole story just went limp like a deflated balloon, no bang, no boom, and never picked up.
Sexual Content: Character isn’t allowed to watch a movie because of “explicit sexual references”. Teacher is fired because he’s a sex offender – this is the official statement, but various characters say he wasn’t. Boy spreads (false) rumors that he’s had sex with the MC. Two characters kiss, do “various things that should have made us colder, what with exposing skin and whatnot”. / “He’s all over me tonight, but I think it might just be Ria dumped him and he’s horny.” Girl remembers orderly’s “smug smile as he soaped up my breasts” while she was in the hospital – she’s mad about it, clearly because of sexual tones. Boy leads a girl off into the trees, pushes her down on the ground, clearly planning to take advantage of her; she escapes and runes.
Language: 15 d***, 8 uses of “God”, 5 scatological terms, 5 derogatory terms, 2 F-words, 2 hell
Violence: One character attacks another bodily (martial arts) shattering the thighbone and hand, and crushing the windpipe. Character wishes she’d hurt an earlier attacker more, imagines smashing his nose and face; on two or three other occasions again admits to wishing for violence. One character punches another in the stomach and face; the second retaliates with strikes to the throat and groin. Several characters are tasered. One character chokes another unconscious.