Saturday, December 31

Book Review: Woman Edge of Time

Title: Woman at the Edge of Time

Author: Marge Piercy

Pages: Ebook (352)

Summary: The fascinating story of Connie Ramos, a Chicana woman in her mid-thirties, living in New York and labelled insane, committed to a mental institution. But the truth is that Connie is overwhelmingly sane, heroically sane, and tuned in to the future.

Connie is able to communicate with the year 2137. Two totally different ways of life are competing. One is beautiful - communal, non-sexist, environmentally pure, open to ritual and magic. The other is a horror - totalitarian, exploitative, rigidly technological.

In Connie's struggle to keep the institution's doctors from forcing her into a brain control operation, we find the timeless struggle between beauty and terror, between good and evil ... with an astonishing outcome.

My Rating: 6.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I liked the overall premise of the book, but something fell short of my expectations, especially considering the book had a lot of different elements and layers to it. The book has multiple elements to it; there's issue on feminism, treatment of persons suffering from a mental illness, science fiction, dystopian/utopian all tied into one story, but I think because it had so many different elements, is also where the book failed to work for me.

I liked the look at the treatment of a person with mental illness, the author did give the reader a good hard look at the harsh realities a person was faced with. The facilities were horrible, and so were most of the doctors and treatment methods used. Although it bothered me how the people were treated, I liked how the author held nothing back, and showed the harsh light of things.

I found that the science fiction/dystopian/utopian side of the story hard to follow - as I never really bought Connie was actually communicating with the future, I always thought it was part of her illness. The idea behind it was good, but not executed to my liking, I think it would have worked better if the reader had a harder time distinguishing whether or not Connie was able to communicate with the future or was it a symptom of her illness. I did enjoy the final chapter, but because the middle of the book was muddled at time between present and future the effect of the ending wasn't as good as I would have liked, again, if there was a thinner line on whether the book was one about a woman who is thought to be crazy but is actually communicating with the future or is she a person suffering from a significant mental illness, the ending would have been much more effective.

Characterization was okay, but the same problems arise that I had with the characters that I have with the plot. Overall a good book, but not at all what I was expecting.

Would I recommend it to read: I would, as a reader there were different ways you could read and take from the book, depending on your tastes, there is something for many different readers.

What to read next: The Piano Man's Daughter, The Bell Jar, We, Alias Grace

Challenges: Mental Illness Advocacy

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