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carissagreen50

Carissa Green Reads

I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.

Currently reading

The Selected Poems of Donald Hall
Donald Hall
The Gay Science: with a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs
Walter Kaufmann, Friedrich Nietzsche
A Kierkegaard Anthology
Robert W. Bretall
The Guns of August
Barbara W. Tuchman
SPOILER ALERT!

Dedicated to All Women

An Untamed State - Roxane Gay

I previously wrote a small post about Roxane Gay's novel, "An Untamed State," here: http://carissagreen50.booklikes.com/post/1135645/reading-order-roxane-gay-edition.

 

I find I have more to say about the book. I don't know if this post really needs a spoiler alert, because its subject is right in the first paragraph, and I still haven't entirely made up my mind about trigger warnings, but consider this to be both: The novel is about a woman named Mirielle who is kidnapped by a gang in Haiti and held for ransom. Because her father refuses to pay, she is held for thirteen days, and every terrible thing that could happen to her pretty much does.

 

Gay pulls no punches, and the reading experience is brutal, but not in an exploitative way. The pages keep turning, turning, as you hope to get through the worst. But what is the worst, and how does Mirielle get through? 

 

What I like best about this book is how it is a story about women - specifically about how women survive, how they help each other survive, and the ways they move forward when it is the only thing possible to do. 

 

Mirielle is an amazing character, but just as much, I loved her abrasive, strong, loving, take-no-crap mother-in-law, Lorraine. If we were casting "An Untamed State" for film, the Nebraska farmwife would be played by Sissy Spacek. Honorable mention to Mirielle's sister, Mona. 

 

Gay dedicates this book "For women, the world over." Throughout history, it has so often been women's lot to survive tragedy and violation, to suffer through hardships not of their own creation, and to help each other pick up the pieces, and find a way to go on. I haven't read this version of that story before, and I appreciated it.

 

P.S. - at the beginning of her Acknowledgements following the narrative, Gay makes a cheeky remark about her brothers; it was a kind of release, reading that bit of humor, as if she was giving us permission as readers to let Mirielle's story go a little bit, and live our lives happily again. 

 

-cg