Book Review: Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals by Christopher J. Payne

Quote from Amazon:
"Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals contains sadly beautiful photographs by Christopher Payne and a masterful essay by Oliver Sacks that reminds us that state hospitals were not always places of neglect and abuse but also of true asylum--of refuge from the stresses of life. The book presents us with a world of abandoned buildings, forgotten ashes, and derailed futures. It packs a powerful punch."--Elyn R. Saks, author of The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, and Professor, USC Law School

My Thoughts:
I was so excited when I received the email saying this book was on it's way to me via the MN Link Interlibrary Loan System. The timing was perfect. In just over a week, my siblings and I will be touring Fergus Falls State Hospital in Fergus Falls, MN. I will be posting about our tour in a future post!

This book contains images from the Fergus Falls Hospital as well as many others around the United States. I am wowed by the Kirkbride Architecture and the massive size of the buildings and grounds. This book shows some amazing photos that make you wish you were there. I loved the photo of the hanging toothbrushes and the photos of long, abandoned hallways. It's so sad in a way, that these buildings were left so abruptly and rarely touched again.You also wonder paging through this book, what if these walls could talk? What story would they tell?

Christopher Payne did an amazing job with photographing these hospitals. You can view some of these images at his website Chris Payne Photo.

I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.