NW Clinical Research Center Trials—Schizophrenia, Bellevue, WA: http://nwcrc.net/
NEW—JUST IN—the author plans to
“…stop by the tour and bring books to sell and sign.”
**see reviews conclusion
Under the Red Roof: 100 Years at Northern State Hospital, by M.J. McGoffin, 2011, Mary McGoffin Publisher, 156 Pages, ISBN-13: 978-0692013731, $16.00
“…wild-haired maniacs [or] skulking rapists lurking behind bushs….,” describe common views of insane asylum patients in 1967, quotes Mary McGoffin in her debut nonfiction release Under the Red Roof. She quotes Dr. William Voorhees, superintendent of Northern State Hospital.
To foster public awareness, Dr. Voorhees hosted an open house at the asylum to encourage the public to “…come and see…” and learn their fears were baseless from “first-hand” patient experiences.
Although McGoffin’s doesn’t document the outcome of that open house, her cinematic writing and black and white photos, authenticate and vividly capture the 100-year-old campus, the era, the staff and the patients she writes about.
Her love affair with the “finest state mental institution in the nation”combines with her skilled and dedicated research to offer reader’s historical facts and first-hand accounts that read more like a one-of-a- kind novel, instead of a nonfiction book
Personal interviews with “…the switchboard operator, nurses, doctors, attendants,” and surviving daughters of those who worked there validate the stories of staff and patients she writes about.
She includes the hospital’s prime years when as many as 2,000 patients lived, worked and played on the lush campus nestled in the foothills of the Cascades on the outskirts of Sedro-Woolley, WA. There patients felt safe and learned work skills that provided them with self-worth and purpose while they healed. Factual data coupled with interviewee’s stories reveal the “unique inter-dependency between patients and staff whereby meaningful work contributed to a patient’s recovery…
Read about Eric, a patient who published fascinating “hospital newsletters that were then “reprinted by a local journalist in 1936” which McGoffin includes. Eric’s views and stories are from “a patient’s perspective…”
Her interview with psychiatric nurse, Joanne McInnes includes stories of patients restrained for Electro-Convulsive shock treatment until “physicians introduced new medications, such as Thorazine.” The section on lobotomies detail what the procedure was, the results and why Northern State Asylum adopted its use.
The author’s interview with Elinor Nakis brought tears. She tells about “…a large group of men from Northern State Hospital [who] boarded…” the same Greyhound bus to Seattle as she did in 1973. Their clothes were “outdated and discolored from age.” The man seated next to her, along with forty-five others in their sixties had been given “one-way tickets to Seattle…he didn’t know what he would do when he arrived…”
The author offers a captivating tour of Northern State Hospital, from its distant past to the “post-hospital” present where she concludes with several appendices that document what happened since the hospital ceased operation in 1973.
Under the Red Rooftells the human stories McGuffin couldn’t in her application to add Northern State Hospital to the National Register of Historic Places in Washington State, which she achieved March 16, 2011. http://tclf.org/node/6217
I keep few books I review but Under the Red Roof has earned a place on my bookshelf. Copies are available at Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/3mrscub or in Sedro-Woolley at the Museum or the Senior Center.
Noel V. Bourasaw, Skagit River Journal: http://tinyurl.com/3vaqn62 on “behalf of the NW Washington History Detectives “ received approval for a tour of the exterior of the campus buildings [Northern State Hospital] Saturday, August 20, 2011. Check his website for further details.
NEW—JUST IN—the author said she plans to “ stop by the tour and bring books to sell and sign.”
The Seattle Christian Book Review Examiner: http://tinyurl.com/23gtm4d
The Washington Christian Book Review Examiner: http://tinyurl.com/6cvj94t