Meredith's Reviews > Vinegar Hill

Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay
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's review
Aug 06, 2011

liked it

How do you rate a book that you can't put down, that you dream about and that disturbs you for days? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I liked the writing and plot of this book, but it cast a creepy aura over my life for a few days.

This novel is set in rural Wisconsin in the 1970's in a community of patriachal hellfire-and-damnation Christians. I like to believe that these types of abusive cultures don't, and never did, exist and perhaps that self-imposed naivite is what made the book so upsetting for me. One of the main themes was the cruel subordination of women and the indirect, often twisted, way the women reassert their limited power. It reveals the devastating effects of this kind of gender inequality but ends with a sense of muted hope. I recommend it, especially if you've been searching for a few more reasons to leave the Catholic church...or any patriarchal religious institution.
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Sharon You want to think this can't exist, but it did and still does. I live in central WI, grew up out in the country on a farm, knowing people like this. I still think if you grow up this way, you learn either to cope with the weather or you go crazy! I don't mean an occasional blizzard, those are invigorating. It's slogging through 8 to 9 months of boring weather, knowing it's not going to get above 20 degrees for months and months, the snow turns brown, and the wind whips your face everytime you go outside. For some people, all they have is their church, and it can turn them mean. I remember my best friend in grade school, my only classmate, therefore my only friend, telling me I was going to hell because my family didn't go to church, and her mother said we were all going to hell! It's still true, you either sink into the depths of depression or you learn to swim with a sense of humor! You always have plenty of people around you to remind of how you don't want to be, but you meet the normal ones too. I haven't finished this book yet, but it seems like coming home. It's not depressing to me, it's just the way it is.

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