“Outside her home, Oscine had built an image of reflection, and inside her home,
Oscine, an image of a stowaway, ensconced in her room, talking to herself,
dreaming of a man who would one day rescue her; few friends came her way, as
she was so busy pleasing everyone but herself.
She was fast becoming an American woman.”
The tragedy of women of all ages, some men of a certain disposition, and the majority of third world countries, this book of tragedy covers it all and doesn’t pretend to sugar coat anything. This book is not for the faint of heart, it will traverse the boundaries of readers and will break down the barriers of emotional comfort in an effort of thematic conveyance. It will coerce the reader into start believing in a person’s biology of luck and knowing there is no escaping a predestined plan.
The title of the book is a little presumptuous and all-encompassing of the fairer form. I really was quite curious where the author was going to go with a title as comprehensive as this. Self serving agenda, familial testimonial, perpetual treadmill… I wasn’t sure. Was the story written before the title was selected or was the plot constructed around the theme of the story? After reading I still think the title is a bit derogatory and short-sighted in its depiction of woman as the sole receivers of abuse, destined for eternal relationship turmoil with little chance for redemption. I understand abuse is still very relevant in today’s world, but the measure of abuse found in this novel reflects a time reminiscent of the middle of the 20th century or for that matter in a second/third world country. The concepts also seems dated with the ideals of twenty-somethings in college who feel that if you are not married after you reach twenty-five your potential for wedded bliss is null and void. However; your potential for a cat sanctuary and dying alone and unhappy is a very encouraging prospect. For all intents and purposes this book seems to bend time where you feel you are reading a historic piece of literature, only to find it being present day. Back to the future in the present; is that the impact gender roles and religion have on the world? The ideas are very primitive, I would like to think society has come a lot further than what the book illustrates.
“If you give equality to a woman, if you treat them as if they are special,if you are nice
and gentle, then it is in a woman’s nature to attempt to dominate you, and she will
sense, with her uncanny, wily brain, a power void. She will resent your benign
attitude and even think you are a weak sister; therefore you must purposely do things
to teach her who is in command.”
Is the author subjectively indicating by the title that this is a self-inflicted tragedy, or did Oscine have no choice in the matter? Was Oscine, Mary Queen of Scots in a past life and is still atoning generation-by-generation for her past transgressions? Are woman more concerned with the status marriage brings while upholding that sanctity of marriage and expectations of their gender rather than the possibility of true love? Some would argue that point, on the other hand, I would not. As horrible as it is to admit, woman are cursed with the feeling of optimism and shun the blessing of intuition when it comes to their pattern of men. This book is an aspiring female empowerment book that in actuality is a feminists nightmare to read, but would prove positive as a resource for their equality platform. In contrast, men of a certain religious beliefs or geographical location will be in accordance with a lot of what is stated in this novel while other men will read this in utter disbelief oh how backwards society can be.
This by no means is an easy read. I am a relatively hardened individual that has experienced troubling situations, but the descriptions of abuse on a chronically ill child was incredibly tough to take. To then read about Oscine’s progression from childhood abuse to a marital relationship bound by servitude with no hope for true love or eternal bliss was also troubling. And when I thought it couldn’t get any more disturbing, it unfortunately did. The talk of excrement as a sexual exploit was quite bothersome, overdone, and remains taboo in societal construct for a very good reason. I understand the need to identify the city’s grimy and seedy underbelly and convey that to the reader, but it gave me the perception that their were ulterior motives with the inclusion of this subject matter such as tone and imagery.
At times you want to reach through the pages in hopes of strangling somebody, but all you can hope for is some sort of sweet justice. This is Oscine Exene’s story of being given life by terribly self-centered people whose only concern in life is protecting their public image and securing their nest egg, chronically ill daughters do not apply. Oscine is incredibly mature and wise beyond her years, which is typically what you find with sick children. Her goal in life is to one day find “Mr.Handsome Man” so she can be taken away from a life of inevitable failure and fully enjoy a life of happiness and content. She may find her Mr.Handsome Man but their are no guarantees for her beyond that.
“You make me sick, people like you who society carries, fat and greasy and barely
moving old fossils who are just mounds of decaying blubber, all of you ought to
be in the trees, you ought to be made into food for the young and strong, like me;
yes, I would like to see you ground in to meat and salted and eaten, at least by
dogs; yes, at least feed you to the dogs, so your last miserable years on Earth
aren’t a total waste.”
This book is kind of a study of anthropology reflecting the way males go about winning/hunting the hearts of potential females, and how predictable woman are in these times of pursuit. With all this talk of “playing the game” during Eli and Abraham’s conversations about woman I couldn’t help but be reminded of the movie Roger Dodger. For anyone that hasn’t seen this movie consider it a running dialogue of Eli and Abraham from the start of the movie to the end about the pursuit of females and how perspectives can be changed through successes and failures. This book is very eye-opening to read, with respect to the views that each sex has regarding one another and how legitimate they make their cases seem. This is just as much a book about the tragedy of man. The meek shall inherit the Earth, that’s great in the long-run but that’s not going to help you with the ladies. The whole “nice guys finish last” debate is exhibited in this book when Oscine seems to continually string Dr.Abraham Argnine along, toying with him, using him as an emotional outlet, intellectual drain, physical plaything, and spiritual cleanser.
During the first half of the book I must say that Oscine’s and Abraham’s conversations about love became repetitive and redundant. At a point in the novel every time they are alone in each other’s presence Abraham confesses “your the one for me, your my ecstasy, your the one I need”. Then Oscine constantly replies, “No, I love my husband, he doesn’t hit me, I’m married, please go, I will make my marriage work.” At times I found myself twiddling my thumbs waiting for the inevitable to come to fruition, and sure enough like clockwork it did. I’m not trivializing the importance of these moments it just rarely offered new developments and became predictable.
There are also a lot of elements that I enjoyed about this book. This book is very original, not in its plot or subject, but in author’s technique and execution. The characters are so well constructed and come across as multidimensional. It is if the author has lived his life as a fly on the wall of homesteads across the United States of America. His knowledge of character, distinctions between genders, inter-gender dimensions, family roles, the author was so aware of the various frames of mind that his success was almost scary and in the end made me feel empathetic believing how close his life may have reflected the story being depicted in the novel. I also enjoyed the fact that the friendship between Eli and Abraham is one of polar opposites but provides them both with a viewpoint that may be foreign to themselves but proves beneficial in order to strengthen certain recessed characteristics. I enjoyed the psychology discussion that made an appearance throughout the book, it was very thought provoking and I was also impressed with the creativity involved in illustrating extremely delicate subjects. Some that I may not agree with, but as a reader I can appreciate none the less.
“It is the tragedy of Woman, Woman, who is the bearer of so much pain in the world,
If She does not know who She is and what She wants and where She is in society,
She can destroy nations; yes, Man can destroy civilizations from without, but Woman,
by looking for that which She cannot have, can destroy from within; She needs to
know why She is here and what She must do and not do, and only then can She
save civilizations; God shows us the truth, but truth understood only through faith.”