This book is so strong, which makes the ending so disappointing. Even though the character Evie is clearly changed from her experience, what*spoilers*
This book is so strong, which makes the ending so disappointing. Even though the character Evie is clearly changed from her experience, what's missing is that we do not see this development really. Perhaps because it seems as if she is infatuated with Suzanne until the end.
But there is much to love about this book, most of all the painfully astute capturing of the relationship between girls, the way in which the relationship between mother and daughter or best girlfriends is secondary to their relationships between men, even though the latter are less satisfying, while the former seem to better satisfy the deep need to be loved and cared about. The author is also brilliant at subtly portraying the dissonance between the pedestal onto which girls and women put men and the harsh and thoughtless behavior toward each other.
That most of the story takes place when the feminist movement was just becoming mainstream certainly suggests that women were more trapped back then, but the contemporary story that fills the rest of the book suggests that relationships in which men hold primacy has not disappeared. And it's totally plausible.
Many of the professional reviews have pointed out how well Cline turns a phrase, and I agree. But for me the true brilliance of this book has to do with the depth with which it portrays gender and female friendship. ...more
Even though Sayonara is sold as a story about the injustices endured by an interracial couple in 1950s Japan, I think less commented on is whether MicEven though Sayonara is sold as a story about the injustices endured by an interracial couple in 1950s Japan, I think less commented on is whether Michener wanted the reader to root for the main couple, American Lloyd Gruver, accomplished Korean War fighter pilot, and Hana-Ogi, talented actress in the Japanese Takarazuka Theater. I found myself questioning whether the two were truly in love or whether Lloyd liked what Hana-Ogi represented: a detour from the life he was supposed to live and Hana-Ogi similarly saw in Lloyd a potential out from the strict life of the theater.
The book begins with Lloyd's arrival in Japan. His fiancee's father, General Webster, has moved him to Japan after a successful stint in Korea so he can marry the general's daughter, Eileen. (Another interesting thing about the book is how great a role nepotism seems to play about one's fate in the military, which becomes especially clear by the end). Eileen seems lovely, but Lloyd is terrified of her mother, who has so much sway over her husband that she prevails on General Webster to issue an order against American men and Japanese women going out together in public. Lloyd imagines that Eileen will become her mother if he marries her, which seems to be less about Eileen than about Lloyd's complicated feelings toward his life as an elite military man. It is a life his father, a high-ranking general, seems to have chosen for him--or at least that is what we are led to believe early on.
Although Japan is no longer the enemy, there are all kinds of prejudices on the part of the Americans toward the Japanese. As a woman, it's hard to ignore the benevolent sexism. Lloyd and the other American men like Japanese women because they give them baths and seem to know exactly what they need when they're in a bad mood. Then there is the prejudice. There is what we would call today fetishization of the Japanese women. All of this said, if this is an honest depiction of the time and sentiments, I am all for it being in the book.
But what I kept going back to were the motives of Lloyd and Hana-Ogi and whether they were truly in love or whether they represented for the other person an escape from a proscribed path. I leave you, the reader, to interpret this question, for I think it's an open one....more
In the U.S., there is growing concern that doctors are overprescribing medicine as the answer for patients with mental health and behavior problems. FIn the U.S., there is growing concern that doctors are overprescribing medicine as the answer for patients with mental health and behavior problems. Feelings of sadness, behaviors like restlessness, which were once seen as normal aspects of being a human being, are now diagnosed as health problems like depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the argument goes, and treated away with prescription drugs.
Psychiatrist Daniel Carlat does not necessarily endorse this, but he does offer reasons from his own personal experience as a psychiatrist--as to why medications are so commonly prescribed and advances a compelling argument for a more holistic approach that emphasizes talk therapy equally if not more than medicine. Medication does work, Dr. Carlat says, but it should not be the only answer, and part of the reason why medication is so often prescribed is because of the commercial power of pharmaceutical companies and the reimbursement practices of insurance companies. Dr. Carlat says he and his colleagues are reimbursed better if they see patients for 15-minute medication management programs than 45-minute talk therapy programs--even though therapy works as well if not better than med management for treating depression.
Dr. Carlat gives us a firsthand account of his own experiences as a paid shill for a drug company, as well as a review of the evidence on what research says about the efficacy of psychiatric medication. He offers some very constructive suggestions for how to balance the system so that there is not an over-reliance on prescribing. He argues that psychiatrists should re-integrate talk therapy in their practices and talks about his own experiences struggling to help patients who he can only see for 15-minute medication sessions. This focus on his experience gives the reader a very tangible picture of what the problem is and what the solution could look like. To his credit, he does not dismiss psychologists, licensed social workers, and nurse practitioners but rather encourages psychiatrists to extend an olive branch to them.
What might surprise some people is how little is actually known about behavioral and psychiatric disorders compared to just about any other kind of health problem, like cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, etc. There is no clear scientific explanation for WHY antidepressants work either, which people might find hard to believe. This doesn't mean we shouldn't do anything if we do suffer from mental health problems or that they aren't real, it just means that we shouldn't trust anyone who promises a silver bullet for these complex issues. Really recommend this book for anyone who is wondering how to deal with a mental health issue--their own or family and friends....more