Has anyone else read it and what did you think of it?
I don't want to take anything away from those who enjoyed it but I found the book disturbing. A teenage girl is raped and develops extreme anxiety disorder and eventually agoraphobia. A priest, at the request of her grandfather-in-law, befriends the woman and carries out errands for her. Nowhere in the book does anyone try to get the woman help for her agoraphobia but instead enable her to be reclusive by even delivering groceries and leaving them on her doorstep so she doesn't have to interact with them. This is all shown as an act of kindness.
Agoraphobia and anxiety disorder can be treated quite successfully and I just felt the book sent a bad message. Mary (the agoraphobic woman) feels she is part of the community because the priest tells her about the members of the community and Mary has him buy presents and give money to people in need. It seems rather delusional to think you are a real part of a community you never personally interest with.
But what if Mary had been poor? Would she still have been enabled so readily? Would she still have been a heroine in the eyes of the reader were it not for the money she could give to the community?
Maybe my perception is skewed because of the people I know who fought so hard to overcome anxiety disorder, depression and even agoraphobia. I find it hard to think of The Mill River Recluse as a "feel good" story as so many people have described it.