Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.
But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe. (From Goodreads)
Huh. That was my first reaction when I finished Bleeding Violet. The book was manic, much like the main character Hanna was. But when I thought about it, the whole town was manic. They lived normal lives with monsters around and people disappearing all the time. I'd move as far from there as I possibly could, but people stayed. People even moved to the town to live there!
Hanna's father died and she is living with her Aunt Ulla who wants to send her to a mental ward every time Hanna does something the least bit out of the ordinary. She has bipolar disorder but "I prefer manic-depressive"..."It's much more explicit, don't you think? More honest?" she tells her mother, Rosalee. Hanna takes her pills on and off sporadically, which doesn't work. I have a problem with this because I have bipolar disorder and portraying it as simple as taking a pill for a couple of days and then not taking them, really simplifies the disease. (Off soapbox) But the book is not about being having manic depressive disorder. The whole town is manic depressive. I didn't see anything happy there and everything was manic. I kept thinking at the end that maybe this all took place in Hanna's mind, but there was no indication that it did.
After Aunt Ulla threatens to lock her away forever, Hanna runs away to her mother who she's never met. Her mother isn't accepting of her and neither are the kids at school because she's a transy, someone who just moved there and hadn't seen anything real. She has to prove herself to both her mother and the kids at school so she can stay. The kids prove easier than her mother.
Despite her altering manic and depressive moods, Hanna is surprisingly lucid as to what to do if you can call talking to her dead father's ghost she can see, a carved wooden swan, and a silver swan lucid. She talks to all these things to help her make decisions, save her life, and almost talk her into death.
Hanna's impulsiveness gets her into trouble more than once and the last time is the worst yet best. It proves to be the one thing that determines whether she can stay with her mother or sent back to Aunt Ulla.
It is truly one of the most bizarre books I've ever read and when I read it again, I'm sure I'll see something new in it and have a different perspective.
This is definitely for an older crowd. Suicide and sex are prevalent throughout the book as well as death. They are treated lightly instead of with the attention they deserve. But for the town of Portero, death is such an everyday occurrence, they are desensitized to it. Maybe the author is trying to make a statement there. Or maybe she isn't trying to make any statement at all.