Underneath the dated rants, the thinly veiled misogyny, casual racism, and unbelievable treatment of mental health patients.. this was a rather decentUnderneath the dated rants, the thinly veiled misogyny, casual racism, and unbelievable treatment of mental health patients.. this was a rather decent book. Twenty-eight year old Cassie, during her second stay on her local hospital's mental health ward, is finally coming to terms with the fact that she is an alcoholic. In the beginning, we see Cassie as an immature, self-absorbed, depressed and passive aggressive woman. At one point she is discussing her disillusion with her marriage with her psychiatrist, Dr. Edwin Alexander.
"You have choices, Casie. You can go home, reconcile, see a marriage counselor--" "You?" I interrupted. "No," he said, without explanation; then continued, "you can do any of those things, or you can decide on a separation, divorce, whatever. You have choices." Outside of cholera, I can think of anything I want less than choices, Edwin. Tell me what to do. Please. I'll do whatever you say, but it better turn out well or I'll blame you forever, "Do I have to decide now?" I asked, beginning to panic.
This novel is described as being laugh out loud funny, but I found Cassie to be incredibly unlikable in the beginning. However, as the novel progresses, we actually see her mature, get well and change for the better. This passé, forgotten novel from 1977 is an excellent example of "show don't tell" and presents one woman’s' fairly believable struggle with alcoholism.
But, man.. the way things were done back then. Alcoholic Cassie is thrown in with people who have a plethora of different mental illnesses. People smoke cigarettes in the hospital.. Cassie's shrink even bums cigarettes from her during their therapy sessions! And in true psychiatrist fashion, the fabulous Dr. Alexander answers each of Cassie's questions with a question of his own (the better to teach her how to solve her own problems, right?) Except when the discussion is focused on Cassie's lover. Then Dr. Alexander has no problem telling - no, ordering Cassie to leave her lover. During a session with the Dr. Alexander, Cassie admits she met her lover that afternoon,
"Where did you go today?" he asked softly. I ground out my cigarette. "I went downtown to see Tom Donnerly." The chair whirled around and both is hands came crashing down on the desk. "You what?" He thundered.
Sheesh.. I thought physiatrists were supposed to be non-judgmental?
Parts of this book definitely were longer than they needed to be. Long rants in which Cassie talks about finding herself, and her need to fill a void that hasn't been met thus far by her role of wife and mother. I have a feeling that a lot of these passages were more poignant to the women of the 1970's who had much less choices and freedom than women do today. Nonetheless, this was an interesting look at the lives women used to lead, their role in society, the restrictions and burdens placed upon them. ...more
First published in 1899, The Awakening was controversial for it's portrayal of a woman's sexual desires and wish to live a life different from what isFirst published in 1899, The Awakening was controversial for it's portrayal of a woman's sexual desires and wish to live a life different from what is socially accepted. Apparently this novel was rediscovered in the 1960's and since has been considered a feminist classic.
This is a fairly quick read with features the spiritual awakening of Mrs. Edna Pontellier as she discovers that she wants more in life than to be a wife and a mother. Although life for women was so much more restrictive in those times, Edna is lucky enough to enjoy a freedom unknown to most contemporary women. Her husband is happily preoccupied with his work and his men's club, and makes enough money to afford cooks, maids and nannies. Unburdened by her children or household duties, Edna has the time, freedom and money to pursue her interest in art, and form intimate friendships with other men. This novel didn't strike me as a social commentary so much as a documentation of one woman's descent into depression. Edna's struggles and dissatisfactions were primarily internal. And we saw her suffer no ill repercussions of her actions, or face a shunning or public condemnation from her friends. Although not always understood, her husband and friends allowed her her quirks.
"I thought you were going away," she said, in an uneven voice. "I am, after I have said good night." "Good night," she murmured. He did not answer, except to continue to caress her. He did not say good night until she had become supple to his gentle, seductive entreaties.
I loved the writing, the characters, and the schmexy scenes ~ which of course were so shocking and risque back when this was first published, but appear so beautifully written today. Kate Chopin is an author who I look forward to reading more of in the future. ...more
I debated on giving this 1 or 2 stars. On one hand, I did enjoy the book. However, there are quite a few issues that I just can't get past.
For examplI debated on giving this 1 or 2 stars. On one hand, I did enjoy the book. However, there are quite a few issues that I just can't get past.
For example, in the beginning Cohen writes about the feeling of power she felt from sexual attention. So, I expected the book to follow that theme. But it didn't. Cohen gained nothing from her multiple sexual encounters ~ not popularity, money, career advancement and certainly not the power she spoke of. True, she did get the momentary attention she sought. But that was it. It was a little pathetic the way so many men would reject her, and how quickly they would do it.
In doing such a thorough job of documenting her promiscuity, Cohen lets the other people and hobbies in her life fall to the wayside. Her mother ~ such a large influence in the beginning, rarely surfaces after Cohen's early teen years. Her sister is distant throughout the novel, until at one point in their adult lives Cohen and her sister seem to have a heart to heart. Cohen's friends come and go with little joy or sense of loss. And at some point in her college years, Cohen switches from drinking & drugs to developing an interest in reading, writing and running. The audience is left to speculate exactly when & why this happened.
As Cohen grows older, she does develop a handful of long term relationships with men. However, she continues to be clingy and needy in each one, and in between relationships she goes back to her old ways of fooling around with any available guy. At no point did she mention something she may have learned from a past relationship or experience. She mentions being unhappy with herself and her actions. But any lessons learned are not noted and don't seem to be applied.
Finally, as many have already mentioned, the conclusion seemed forced and left a lot of unanswered questions. The reader is left to believe that Cohen is finally "cured" because she met and married her husband. But really.... what process did she take to get there? Are we to believe that marriage alone leads to a happily ever after fairy tale life? Cohen married her husband relatively soon into the relationship ~ so how are we to know that her marriage will not end up the same as her other relationships? After all, her husband is the first man to ever propose to her. What makes him so special? For all the reader knows, Cohen would have accepted the proposal of any of her multiple hookups.
When everything was said and done... this was an interesting read. But I don't feel that Cohen actually learned from her actions. Yes, she is introspective and seems to understand she has/had a problem and some of the reasons for it. But for her to believe ~ and expect the reader to believe ~ that she is changed by the institution of marriage... well, that's a load of crap. I simply don't believe that a lifetime of poor self-esteem can be "fixed" by the few months of abstinence she experienced before meeting her husband.
Has anyone read her YA book Easy? From the synopsis, it appears to be another veriosn of Loose Girl. Don't know why, but somehow that irritates me. Tell your story once, in one format & be done with it!...more
An interesting book, but doesn't tell me anything new ~ some girls are just nasty, catty, mean bitches. Vendela Vida appears to use peer pressure andAn interesting book, but doesn't tell me anything new ~ some girls are just nasty, catty, mean bitches. Vendela Vida appears to use peer pressure and adolescence as an excuse. Unfortunately, I have found that many women remain this way far into adulthood :(...more