Evan's Reviews > The Kiss

The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison
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's review
Apr 06, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: fucked-up-women, yearning, transgressive, __in-my-collection, 2010-reads, religion, age-gap, men-behaving-badly, sexuality
Read from April 05 to 06, 2010

Somewhere out there in the South a retired ex-minister, a great Don Juan who was told by God personally to fuck his own emotionally needy daughter and God knows who else (he was a children's missionary overseas, after all) must be basking in the proud afterglow of his memories. And then there's the daughter, Kathryn Harrison, the author of this memoir, who was just fucked up enough in the head from family dysfunction to go along with it -- and yet, being a 20- to- 24-year-old young woman when the main part of this story took place was herself an adult who could have chosen to briskly walk in the other direction, but didn't. As I read this, I wasn't inclined to be sympathetic to either of them, especially as certain needs young Miss Harrison craved were being met by the twisted relationship. I'm not here to judge her, but neither am I inclined to let her get by on the infantilism defense, which turns her into a powerless victim -- as so many other reviewers here are simplistically willing to do. Things, people, emotions and the world are more complicated than that. Harrison correctly called it "an affair," a term that is nonetheless hard for us to reconcile within the incestuous context. The father is a total hypocrite jerkwad; hiding behind the mask of religious and domestic respectibility; righteous and arrogant enough to think his station puts him above all morality and that everything is meant to sate his selfish needs. It all adds up to the stuff of a sensational, jaw-dropping, harrowing, nauseating and very unsettling Oprah-style bestseller -- impossible to put down once started. The book is a thoughtful, well-rendered account of confusing needs and twisted inter-family triangles and strange religious moralities gone awry.
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Reading Progress

04/05/2010 page 23
10.27% "Just started but so far seems quite good."
04/05/2010 page 75
33.48% "Wow. This is really unsettling; well told. A real page-turner."
04/13/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Nicole Olila I find this book very disturbing, well written. I haven't finished. I'll be back--and soon as it is def hard to put down.

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