This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite
As a nurse in a state institution for the criminally and mentally disturbed, nurse Mary becomes involved with a young inmate who appears to exhibit none of the characteristics of a dangerous flight risk of which she was labeled. Fatherless, Melby’s mother was brutally murdered by an escapee from the local mental hospital; she is left with no one but a heartless aunt and a spoiled cousin. A well-loved rag doll is Melby’s only friend. When her abusive cousin attacks her doll, Melby physically strikes out against him. Her legal guardian sends her to live at the state mental hospital, where she is treated as a dangerous resident. Melby works hard to cultivate a positive reputation with Mary’s help and the support of an outside public educator. Melby eventually evolves into an independent young woman and advocate for mental health.
Author Melinda Spiker Chambers tackles the realities of mental health in her short novel Melby. As a resident of Weston, West Virginia, Melinda grew up in the same town as the state mental hospital, where patients with troubled mental states or victims of post-traumatic conditions were treated in the late 1950s until the 1970s. Not until the author left the area did she understand or even realize the negative stigma attached to the state hospital, which is currently open as a tourist attraction for haunted tours. The threat of escapees was not uncommon and became the fodder of many a child’s and adults' nightmares. Relatable dialogue and fuel for healthy debate highlight this easy-to-read memoir-style piece of fiction.