The Degenerates | J. Albert Mann | Review

“‘Darling,’ London read. ‘has not the count just told us that all human wisdom is summed up on two words? ‘Wait’ and ‘hope.'”





The Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded is not a happy place. The young women who are already there certainly don’t think so. Not Maxine, who is doing everything she can to protect her younger sister Rose in an institution where vicious attendants and bullying older girls treat them as the morons, imbeciles, and idiots the doctors have deemed them to be. Not Alice, either, who was left there when her brother couldn’t bring himself to support a sister with a club foot. And not London, who has just been dragged there from the best foster situation she’s ever had, thanks to one unexpected, life altering moment. Each girl is determined to change her fate, no matter what it takes.


Firstly, I just want to say thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for sending me an e-arc of this book as part of the blog tour. I really appreciate this opportunity.

The Degenerates was a good read, I can’t say I enjoyed it as it just doesn’t seem right. At times I found it heart-breaking and very difficult to comprehend. Therefore “enjoyment” doesn’t quite describe exactly how I felt about this book. But that is not a bad thing. It just means that the story line hit me in the right place, and made me hurt for the victims within this book.

Let us discuss the characters. J. Albert Mann has a really unique way of creating a complex character and ensuring that the reader feels the exact emotions the said character is feeling at the times they are feeling it. I find that this is a very difficult thing to do and I tend to find it difficult to build up relationships with such emotion filled characters. This was not the case in The Degenerates. I really felt what these poor characters were feeling. I absolutely loved the relationship built between London and Rose. My heart! They were both by far my favourite characters. Maxine and Alice also have a special place in my heart, I love how diverse they are. But London and Rose. I need more of these characters.

I enjoyed the writing style that was adopted by the author. It made for a very quick and easy read in relation to the style. Not so much the subject of the book but the way that it is written. I feel like there was not any confusion or pointless information dumping. The  author really did just get to the point which really helped with my enjoyment. This isn’t normally my go to genre, but it has really opened up my eyes to something different and as a result I will be looking to pick more books up within this category.

This is the first book that I have read by J. Albert Mann, and I did like it. I will be looking into her debut novel and giving that a go in the near future. I would recommend this book to other people. I would warn you that some of the language and the plot points can make for a difficult/uncomfortable read but if you can get over that it is definitely something that I would recommend.

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