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Turkel, P.H. (1943). The Closed Door: By Ronald MacDonald Douglas. New York: Modern Age Books, 1941. 313 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 12:141-142.

(1943). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 12:141-142

The Closed Door: By Ronald MacDonald Douglas. New York: Modern Age Books, 1941. 313 pp.

Review by:
Pauline H. Turkel

One reads this novel with the same intensity that one reads a mystery story and when the heroine, Róisin, escapes from the maltreatment of the nurses in Craigure Asylum in Scotland at the end of the book, the reader heaves a sigh of relief despite the fact that he feels that Róisin needs treatment. On the dust cover the publisher writes: 'The asylum [sic] scenes are definitely true to life for the author has taken great pains to get the facts absolutely correct'. If asylums for the mentally sick in Scotland are like this one, they cannot be effaced from the earth quickly enough and Scotland needs a Dorothea Dix. The scenes depicted there make the reader feel when he lays down the book that he has been through a sadistic orgy.

The first fourth of the book sketches the early life of the heroine—a life of poverty and hard work. Her first sexual affair at the age of fifteen she remembers as 'just a maze in my mind'. After this her life with her grandfather is one of suppression and repression until she can stand it no more and flees.

The next half of the book is the story of an amnesiac attack during which she has her only other sexual episode, becomes pregnant, and is taken to a hospital.

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