I picked up this book as a part of my binge - it sat near Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned and beckoned with it's petite size and cute cover. It also bragged a read that would make The Vagina Monologues seem tame, so I bit. Someone on the back described it as a compulsive read. I agree - compulsive in the same way rubbernecking on the highway is compulsive. You hate yourself for doing it, but you just can't help it.
Helen is a complete mess. She reminded me of someone I used to take care of on the adolescent ward of a lockdown psychiatric unit - a fifteen year old who was so borderline she made your skin crawl. I was assigned to her one-on-one during the 3-11 shift because she had a habit of burying metal objects under her skin. This meant I had to watch her shower (she could do wonders dismantling shower parts). She often pulled a masturbation power play to try to make me uncomfortable and turn away - apparently this had worked previously on other counselors so she could discreetly further her self-mutilation agenda. I watched her, cold and aloof, in attempt to meet and discourage her challenge. It worked.
Using sex as power at such a young age must come out of something much more than a divorce. Further disturbing childhood experiences were hinted at, but not really well developed. Now THAT would have been an interesting story.
Poor Helen tried to imply that anyone not enjoying and savoring their dried bodily secretions (among other things) was an uptight, warped, sexually frustrated female. Like the nurses she described. I like to think that most of us women fall somewhere in between.
Anyway, I had a reaction to the book, obviously. But it has not been seared indelibly into my brain like the image of the blood eagle in Wells Tower's short story that shares the title of his collection. I think I will join the cult following of this classically wonderful Viking tale.
Now I am onto Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores, as part of the Marquez-fest that Ms. White has dragged us into (me quite happily). It is the bonus optional read - it's been a while since we have had book club so there are two books. It's a short read, so luckily I will be finished early for a change - I usually find myself pulling all-nighters the night before.
Enough escaping the inevitable piles of marrows, lymph nodes, livers, SPE's, IFE's, and consult on my desk. Books are such a great escape. At least I feel good enough tackle my work! And my insides are as clean as a whistle. Oops. Too much information.