The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls contains two intertwining stories. One is the autobiography of Emilie Autumn and her time spent in a psychiatric ward in Los Angeles as well as three very detailed diaries: cutting, drug and suicide. The other is the story of Emily with a 'y' in the eponymous Asylum, sent to Emilie in letters originally written on wallpaper and re-typed by Sir Edward.The book is both historical fiction and non-fiction, and one of the most complete accounts of bipolar disorder to be published, as well as a social criticism on the mental health system of the 21st century.
Contains examples of:
Abusive Parents: The Count de Rothsberg was this to Jolie Rouge and her deceased sister.
And This Is for...: Emily with a 'y' says this when she stabs Doctor Stockill for the girls who couldn't be there followed immediately by Sir Edward for the rats
Bedlam House: The eponymous Asylum, where leechings are a common practice for almost every ailment. Bathing is done outside with a cold blast of water regardless of the time of year. After the bi-monthly bathing, death by pneumonia is a common thing. Ward B's inmates are often kept in chains. Pregnancy is often caused by the chasers and later the men who make use of the prostitution ring set up by Doctor Stockill. The modern psychiatric ward is better but still atrocious.
Bitter Almonds: The only thing Madame Mournington can smell, recognizing it from the death of her daughter, Violet, on the breath of Christelle
Broken Bird: Emilie and Emily, as well as many of the girls in the Asylum.
Brother-Sister Incest: One of the girls in the Asylum was abused by her brother. He had her committed to keep her from talking about it.
Chekhov's Gun: The key Emily stole from the Count de Rothsberg, which is later used to open the gates to the Asylum.
Circus of Fear: The Ophelia Gallery. These kinds of shows were actually fairly common in the 19th century; many psychiatric asylums, including the original Bedlam House, had people paying to watch the antics of the patients.
Development Hell: It was meant to come out in 2008 and was delayed. Then was it going to be out for the first 2009 tour and was delayed again. And on Emilie's 30th birthday a release date was set and was going to come out in October with people getting it mid tour via VIP tickets. It was delayed again due to problems with the printing press and has finally come out on December 15th.
Driven to Suicide: Emilie *and* Emily, though their attempts both fail. Later, Madame Mournington and Doctor Stockill succeed.
Hope Spot: With the arrival of Thomson the photographer, it appears that Emily may have finally found a sympathetic outsider... until it turns out that the photographs he's taking are meant to be used (against his will) to advertise the Asylum girls as prostitutes.
Kill 'em All: The Asylum inmates all jump out from a collapsing building. Oh, and most of the doctors die in the massacre.
Mad Doctor. Stockill, so much. And he's convinced that he's the Only Sane Man, only keeping the insane in their rightful place.
Mad Scientist: Doctor Stockill who is attempting to create a new strain of the bubonic plague that only he can cure.
Shaggy Dog Story: Used to highlight the pointlessness and chaos of Victorian women's lives, particularly the "mad" ones. Emily's story is spent building up to the moment when they will eliminate the doctors and run the Asylum. They succeed. Then they all commit mass suicide as the Asylum which they turned into their home collapses around them.