Lynda's Reviews > The Two Kinds of Decay

The Two Kinds of Decay by Sarah Manguso
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's review
May 20, 2012

it was ok
Read on May 20, 2012

I initially thought I liked this book quite a bit. But as I sat with my thoughts a little longer, I realized it bothered me more than moved me. You don't get to truly know her, but you do get to know all about what's physically wrong with her and how it's treated. I could deplore her plight but couldn't feel enough empathy for her because she didn't reveal enough of herself for me to connect with her. I might have been able to if she had provided a more compelling account of the psychological aspect of her ordeal, greater disclosure about her time in a mental ward, details into how she was treated by her peers at college and how it felt to be deprived of a normal academic experience, but the detached recitation of her symptoms and the names for what ails her mentally, and all those meds and apparatus, made her sound too clinical. There's not enough grief and anger in this book! I would have liked her to have revealed more about what she had been like before the fateful day her feet went numb. And not enough attention was paid to the impact on and suffering of her family. I think that one book that sets a great example for how these stories are most effectively told is Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy.
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