#Bestseller Code100: Number 100 Shutter Island Review

This post contains spoilers about Shutter Island. Join the main discussion here.

Shutter Island: A Novel by Dennis Lehane


Shutter Island: A Novel, by Dennis Lehane, is #100 on the 100 Book List created by the computer model described in The Bestseller Code by Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers (see Bestseller Code 100 post).  Host Roberta will be reviewing this book later from the writer’s perspective, but today I will review it from a reader’s perspective.

I’ll admit up front that this is not a book I would have picked off the shelf to read.  The cover graphics on the paperback are menacing and The New York Times review blurb begins with, “An eerie, startlingly original story…. A deft, suspenseful thriller….”  In fact, I’m glad I read it first on the Kindle so I didn’t see all that before I began reading.  I usually steer clear of psychological thrillers, having read far too many of them a few decades ago when I had young children.  I decided at the time that any book with the words “psychological” or “thriller” as a description was ultimately not good for my peace of mind.

That said, I really liked Shutter Island.  It sucked me in quickly and by the time I was halfway through, I couldn’t put it down.  Duties were neglected!

Teddy Daniels was a great character – strong, flawed, human.  I believed him. I believed in him.  And that made the twist towards the end all the more upsetting.  I didn’t want him to be an inmate!  He was the hero, the one who would escape the island and expose to the world the horrors occurring there.

Then Roberta pointed out in her post, The Narrator in Shutter Island, that Teddy was not the narrator of this story.  I had forgotten there was a Prologue!  I quickly went back and reread it.

Does the knowledge that Dr. Lester Sheehan is the narrator change the ending?  Probably not.  Either way Teddy/Andrew undergoes the lobotomy.  The only thing left unclear is if Teddy is really Andrew.  Or is Teddy actually the Marshall and he failed to escape the island.

What do you think?


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  1. Elizabeth (Silver's Reviews)

    I would like to know if Teddy is really Andrew. Or if is Teddy actually the Marshall and he failed to escape the island.

    I hope someone can help. 🙂

    Nice post…..thanks.


    • Roberta

      This comment contains spoilers.
      So glad you joined us.

      The question of whether Teddy is a marshal or inmate seems to be the one the author wants to leave us pondering. Personally, I think Lester is an unreliable narrator and Teddy is a marshal. (I put up a short discussion about the narrator here.) Anyone else want to chime in?

    • Karen Gibson

      I’m pretty sure the author wants us to draw our own conclusions, as it’s not clearly stated. Based upon the prologue, though, I’m leaning towards Teddy is actually the Marshall. It seems like quite a convoluted “play” to put on for several days and everyone play their part perfectly, which is what you have to believe if you think Teddy is really Andrew.

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