Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats

Monday, May 31, 2021

"In the Dream House: A Memoir" by Carmen Maria Machado

It has never benefitted me to put off writing about the books I read. This time was no exception. I finished reading Dream House several days ago, not quite knowing what to say about it, and I haven't come up with any great ideas since then.

When I finished reading this book, my reaction was, "I really liked that and I don't know why." By which I partly meant that I can't put my finger on exactly what it was that I liked, beyond the fact that the writing was great and it was basically a compulsive page-turner; and I partly meant that the subject matter doesn't necessarily seem like something to be enjoyed; and I partly meant that there is a lot that I don't have in common with the narrator, though that fact was easy to ignore as I read. 

This book seems pretty unique to me (and I suppose that's another thing I liked about it). It's the story of an emotionally abusive lesbian relationship, told from the perspective of the abused, in the format of a series of very short chapters--each of which is written in a slightly different style that is introduced in the chapter titles. 

At first I was put off by those chapter titles, finding them distracting as I tried to match up what I knew of the mentioned genre with the text. However, it didn't take long before I was just going with the flow, and I really just could not stop reading. Every time I turned a page to another short little chapter I told myself, ooh, just one more!  

My impression is that the author's purpose in writing this book (other than, surely, catharsis) was to raise awareness about abuse in female relationships, as the typical thought when abuse is mentioned is that it's a male abusing a female. I can't help but wonder if Machado's abuser is aware of this book and has maybe even read it? I can imagine she either pretends this record doesn't exist, or she denies its veracity. 

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