Another book I put down because I have no patience for nonfiction right now, even though I really was enjoying the insights into the three communities...moreAnother book I put down because I have no patience for nonfiction right now, even though I really was enjoying the insights into the three communities. I should probably have skipped around a little more than I did rather than trying to power through the book from start to finish. I will definitely check this one out from the library again when I have a longer attention span (or more free time).(less)
**spoiler alert** I found this book interesting but not exactly riveting. I always have trouble with translations, because I never know if the style i...more**spoiler alert** I found this book interesting but not exactly riveting. I always have trouble with translations, because I never know if the style is true to the original or not, so I don't know how to judge the author on that point (so I usually don't). And clearly some things are lost. At one point, Michael asks Hanna her name. The text indicates that up to this point, Michael had avoided using the formal or familiar form of address, but because the distinction doesn't exist in English (nor in the English translation), there is no indication of which he actually used. Small point, but one that I think can show a fair amount about how individuals are relating to one another.
I really thought it was skillful the way Schlink explored the ways in which those who use us become part of our lives forever. Most literature that deals with sexual abuse/assault deals with the immediate aftermath or dramatic flashbacks. Schlink took it even further, confronting the numbness and confusion that exists for those involved and how this influences their day-to-day actions and in many ways shapes the course of their entire lives. I don't think that Michael's continued interest in/obsession with Hanna was an indication that theirs was a "right" or "appropriate" relationship in any way, and I don't get the impression that Schlink was endorsing it. Rather, he was just explaining the way in which being used sexually and emotionally can create a lasting impression, a backdrop against which we judge all future experiences. Michael seemed to want to be rid of Hanna and her effect on him, but he couldn't find a way. I was somewhat gratified that she couldn't escape those she'd wronged (him or the women in the camps) any more than he could escape her.
I also appreciate the juxtaposition of Michael's individual struggle to free himself from Hanna with the struggle of his entire generation to place the reality of the Third Reich in a context that they could understand and live with as inheritors of that past.(less)
I wasn't overly impressed with this book. Here are some of the things I found lacking:
1) It wasn't well researched. They basically seemed to rely on w...moreI wasn't overly impressed with this book. Here are some of the things I found lacking:
1) It wasn't well researched. They basically seemed to rely on whatever knowledge they actually had and a few web searches. I was not impressed with the fact that more than once they said "A Web site says..." without saying which Web site. Seriously, they could have found the primary reference if they'd put in a little work. Another example, they mentioned that there might be health risks to eating one's placenta. You don't need to look far to find that eating one's own placenta is unlikely to carry any risks (that the risks come in when you consume someone else's placenta). And yet another example: they gave incomplete information about using lactational amenhorrea as birth control. One of the very important factors is to have all of baby's suckling be at the breast. Any thumb sucking, finger sucking, bottles, or pacifiers decrease the effectiveness of this method. And they recommended moms contact "their local La Leche League office." Had they even bothered to talk to a live Leader, they would know this is not how LLL is set up. Although I appreciate that they pointed moms to LLL. Oh, and another one: they talk about "good nutrition" but nothing about how protein intake can actually reverse preeclampsia.
2) They made fairly strong recommendations to avoid a practice even if they admitted to having inadequate information about it (eg, placentophagy. They said, we don't know about this, but we think you shouldn't do it.)
3) What's the point of this book anyway? These myths aren't hurting anyone. Who cares if someone thinks I'm having a girl because I'm wide all over, or that I'm having a boy because I'm carrying out in front? It seemed to me the point was "ask your doctor. They'll tell you all the truth behind these myths." The myths that really should have been addressed are the myths that exist in the routine practice of obstetrics. But there's already a book about that by Henci Goer.
4) The tone is patronizing and the book is poorly written. They leave sentences hanging so they don't make any sense. They say at the beginning of the infertility section that infertility is just as often caused by the man as it is by the woman, then they go on to explain in detail, page after page, all of the things that affect women's fertility and none of the causes of male infertility.
5) They express too many opinions. They say "don't eat your placenta," but then they go on and on about how great an idea it is to plant your placenta under a tree.
6) What the heck is up with the section about how the 7 deadly sins relate to pregnant women? I actually found that kind of offensive.
So, I just wasn't impressed. I think it was a totally unnecessary book. Now, if they had endeavored to explain the cultural and psychological reasons these myths continue to exist, I might have been interested. But they didn't. They just gave a very incomplete version of a "doctor-knows-best" pregnancy and birth book, including the obligatory "here's someone who planned a natural birth and look how I saved her with surgery" anecdote. It would have been better had they done more research, talked to actual people, and got off their high horse about how awesome they are that they let moms try for natural birth while lying in their hospital beds.(less)