Review: The Savage Instinct by M.M. DeLuca

book cover: the savage instinct

The Savage Instinct by M.M. DeLuca follows Clara Blackstone after her release from a mental institution. She was forcibly committed after a stillbirth and received no actual care. Instead, she suffered a variety of traumatic and dehumanizing “treatments.” At home, Clara struggles to be calm and “normal” enough to avoid her husband Henry’s wrath, but he finds fault everywhere. He never says anything kindly, or even neutrally—every line drips with condescension and loathing. His behavior is so extreme that “caricature” is the only word that comes to mind. It also means that for the first half of the novel, he and Clara repeatedly have the same interaction: She offends him by existing, and he responds with cruelty. read more