stacia's Reviews > An Untamed State

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
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it was amazing

People will tell you this book is about a kidnapping -- about the life before for its heroine, Mireille, and about the life after. People will tell you this book about Haiti -- about another lightning rod that divides asunder: class. It is about these things. It's about many other things, also. Depending on who you are, you may need a trigger warning, a stiff drink, a shower when you're reading (and after).

I just needed silence. And then I needed to talk. A lot. Not about the book, but about a ton of things I'd been bottling up. For me, this book was a call to action. It demands that you speak up.

For me, An Untamed State is about what a woman absorbs. It's about the things she keeps quiet to protect those she most ferociously loves. It's about a willingness to die and come back from the dead, to run and be brave enough to return.

Mireille emerges from 13 days of unimaginable, horrifying captivity (one captive woman, seven men. Whatever you're imagining, multiply it.) unable to ever reclaim the relatively benign, content life she had before. But in truth, before, the silences she kept and the fears were their own captivity. After, she was freer, her contentment deeper in many ways, and her loyalties, concerns, and communication more intentional.

There is something about surviving. It renders polite, protective silences completely futile, entirely absurd. And the people you need to become who you are need to be able to hear you scream.

Read this book, if you can. It will be difficult for sexual abuse survivors. Very difficult. But, should you be able to bear it, it will be a very important text.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 7, 2014 – Shelved
February 7, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim excellent review, thank you for getting right to the heart of it.


Sierra This is exactly what I wanted to say. Thank you.


message 3: by Tiffany (new)

Tiffany Thank you for the review. I'm about halfway through, and wish I hadn't found this book on a "great thrillers" list. I was picturing fun suspense, not a brutal depiction of a woman being tortured. I needed to hear that the author gives us time with the protagonist as she tries to make meaning of her experience. I would've had to quit reading if not. So again, thank you.


Donna Carter i loved this book & fell silent for 2 days when it was finished and then i needed to talk too. great book! not just the story, the writing as well.


Rocgietti It's been awhile since I read this book. I have not forgotten the way it made me feel for days afterwards like others mentioned. I told other women friends to read it with a caution disclaimer. Your review nails it precisely.


Janice I can't breathe. Your review is perfect


Francescajemm Yes. Yes. Yes.


message 8: by Nora (new)

Nora Thank you so much for your review. I needed to know if there was rape because I can't handle reading about it right now. I truly appreciate you.


message 9: by so (new)

so .uu


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