Unfortunately this book wasn't nearly as good as I had hoped it would be. Miriam Williams certainly had an intriguing story to tell, but it soon becamUnfortunately this book wasn't nearly as good as I had hoped it would be. Miriam Williams certainly had an intriguing story to tell, but it soon became painfully obvious that she is not an experienced writer: the tone is flat and dry the whole way through and becomes quite repetitive after the first 150 pages. I was likewise disappointed in the total lack of introspection or emotional probing on her part; her story is essentially just a play-by-play report of events with little or no reflection on them. Initially I had been excited to read a first-hand account of her experiences, but I ultimately abandoned the book after nearly 200 pages of soulless recital....more
"Margaux Fragoso achieves the unthinkable with empathic clarity: she humanizes a pedophile. In doing so, she makes his crime unimaginably more frighte"Margaux Fragoso achieves the unthinkable with empathic clarity: she humanizes a pedophile. In doing so, she makes his crime unimaginably more frightening. Her portrayal of their relationship is shocking, revelatory, and fearless. As the story of a victim, it is gripping; as a work of literature, it’s a triumph." --Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones
I’m on page 121 out of 322, about a third of the way through it, and so far this book captivates me and makes my skin crawl in equal amounts. This memoir of her childhood, growing up as the love interest of a pedophile (who in Margaux’s eyes becomes a mix of lover and father-figure), is without a doubt a deeply disturbing read. One thing that bothers me, however, when it comes to most of the reviews that I’ve read, is that the critics are very quick to jump on the “this is disgusting, shame on him for warping her young mind” bandwagon; while that point of view is valid, the trials that she went though were abhorrent and horrifying, yes, but I don’t think that accurately captures the essence of the book. I think this memoir is less a simple statement of “pedophilia is bad”— we know that already; in my opinion, this book is more a lesson on the strength it takes to overcome an ordeal such as the one she went through without completely losing one’s sanity. In a way, after growing up in such an unreal setting, it’s more about recapturing sanity.
In any case, I’m deeply in awe of this book: it’s both compelling and repulsive in its clarity and detail. When she talks about being eight years old and being cajoled into giving oral sex, I could feel the disgust and unease that she was depicting as if it were my own. This is a book that won’t be readily forgotten by any reader, I’m positive. To me, reading this book feels akin to being submerged in tar: even when you surface to take a breath, there is still an almost tangible residue of revulsion that lingers and isn’t easily cleansed. ...more
“It is embarrassing to admit that I didn’t begin [healing] until the age of thirty-four, when after a breakdown I began to get my life togethe
“It is embarrassing to admit that I didn’t begin [healing] until the age of thirty-four, when after a breakdown I began to get my life together through medication, therapy, and tattooing. Borderline means you’re one of those girls who walk around wearing long sleeves in the summer because you’ve carved up your forearms over your boyfriend. You make pathetic suicidal gestures and write bad poetry about them, listen to Ani DiFranco albums on endless repeat, end up in the emergency room for overdoses, scare off boyfriends by insisting they tell you they love you five hundred times a day and hacking into their email to make sure they’re not lying, have a police record for shoplifting, and your tooth enamel is eroded from purging. You’ve had five addresses and eight jobs in three years, your friends are avoiding your phone calls, you’re questioning your sexuality, and the credit card companies are after you. It took a lot of years to admit that I was exactly that girl, and that the diagnostic criteria for the disorder were essentially an outline of my life:
[Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by] a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affect, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in criterion 5.
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in criterion 5.
5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
The first time I read these criteria, I felt like someone had been following me around taking notes.”(Loud in the House of Myself, pg. 8-10)
Even reading it for the second time, this memoir still hits very close to home for me. Having also grown up dealing with borderline personality disorder and having battled through manic episodes and deep depressive states, as well as my own forms of self-destruction, reading Pershall’s story felt almost like connecting with a kindred spirit. After just the first twenty pages of her book, I was laughing and sobbing simultaneously— unsure of exactly how to feel aside from an overwhelming sense of rapport, and the relief that comes from knowing that someone, somewhere, has been where you are, felt how you feel— and has survived it. I found solace in her story; although it's different in many ways from my own, there were times while reading where I felt that if I were to walk up to her and tell her a story from my life, she would know exactly what I was talking about. Her memoir is deeply affecting; you don't need to have lived through something similar to recognize her courage and applaud the strength inherent in her words....more
This book is a fascinating, if a bit unsettling, exploration of the more aberrant relationships that can exist between the sexes. I've always been somThis book is a fascinating, if a bit unsettling, exploration of the more aberrant relationships that can exist between the sexes. I've always been somewhat surprised that so few people seem to have read it; they may have heard of it, or know vague details as to the plot, which is still infamous even by today's standards, but it does tend to get overlooked as one of the great books of its time period. Personally, I'd recommend it highly, if for no other reason than to experience the subversive look at love that it presents....more