The Lobotomist’s Wife: A Novel

We rated this book:


Many readers will not be familiar with the period when lobotomies were commonly offered as a treatment for various forms of mental illness. This historical novel imagines the life of the lead doctor who championed the treatment—at first, passionately, and then later, obsessively, as only a megalomaniac can do. The story is told from the points of view of his wife, who runs the hospital where the doctor works, and a patient suffering from “the baby blues” after the birth of her third child.

I found the young mother’s character well written and portrayed vividly and sympathetically, so that you understand why anyone would choose to have their brain operated on. “To not have to try so hard anymore. To no longer feel afraid. To unconditionally love her children again. It was all she wanted.” However, the primary character, Ruth, was unfortunately presented less skillfully.

Chock-full of historical details, the novel suffers from a voice that is decidedly contemporary, with multiple characters repeatedly describing the procedure and the doctor himself as “incredible.” Nevertheless, the plot built to a suspenseful climax and I kept turning the pages.

Reviewed By:

Star Count 3.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 298 pages
Publisher Lake Union Publishing
Publish Date 01-Feb-2022
ISBN 9781542036214 Buy this Book
Issue February 2022
Category Popular Fiction