Chris's Reviews > Veronica

Veronica by Mary Gaitskill
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's review
Apr 28, 2012

really liked it
Read from April 28 to May 16, 2012

** spoiler alert ** This was a very difficult book, both to get into, and to deal with on an emotional level. Essentially, you have a character who is now old and partially crippled talking about their life when they were young and beautiful. They describe it in a manner that is filled with self-disgust and self-loathing from beginning to end. The way she describes other characters shows a complete lack of caring for anything outside herself, and, in fact, for herself. It creates a picture of complete emotional isolation, which, along with the dense writing style and they shifting threads of the "plot", make for a difficult entry into the book.
The last third of the book is where it becomes the best, to me. Describing a friend's dying of AIDS in the early 80s, from this particular dispassionate viewpoint, the character begins to seem as though she is looking for something in her own story to make everything seem like it has been worthwhile. Can the times we try and do the "good thing" make up for all of the times we behaved selfishly? Should we forgive ourselves for all of things we hate ourselves for, or are we trapped with them?
The ending is slightly hopeful, very suddenly, which I am a little skeptical about. It seems to come somewhat out-of-the-blue. However, the overall impression of the book is one of constant struggle against the ugliness one creates inside themself, an idea I liked quite a bit.

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04/28/2012 page 1
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