Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 347 - Playing House

Playing House
Fredrica Wagman

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Release Date: May 2006 (35th Anniversary Edition; Paperback)

Publisher: Zoland Books (Steerforth Press)

Pages: 176

My Rating: 1.5/5

Source: Copy provided by publisher

Synopsis []:

When Playing House appeared in 1973, Publishers Weekly hailed it, “A probing descent into madness that will fascinate the same audience that appreciated I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.” This nationally bestselling story of one woman’s struggle with the lasting effects of a childhood sexual relationship with her brother shocked American readers; it remains a literary work of enduring quality and value. In his foreword Philip Roth writes, “The traumatized child; the institutionalized wife; the haunting desire; the ghastly business of getting through the day – what is striking about Wagman’s treatment of these contemporary motifs is the voice of longing in which the heroine shamelessly confesses to the incestuous need that is at once her undoing and her only hope.”


I really thought I'd like this novel but I had such a hard time reading it. Incest is not a troubling subject matter for me to read about. But the layout of the story was very confusing for me. I realize it may very well be that way on purpose because of the nameless main character's state of mind. The effects of her sexual relationship with her brother consume her entire life. I appreciate the honesty in Wagman's writing but I found myself literally scratching my head after each page I read.

I did like the forward of PLAYING HOUSE. I'm not familar with Philip Roth or his work but I enjoyed reading his thoughts on the book. It did make me think I was going to enjoy it a lot more than I did, but that's okay. After reading other people's thoughts on this book I can see that the problem for me was my comprehension skills and not so much the writing. I just didn't see it the way others have but I do enjoy seeing what others have to say. It actually helps me better understand the novel.

It was tough for me to keep the sequence of events straight because of the fact the narrarator herself jumps around in her story-telling. It didn't really "read" like a book or anything I've ever read before and I suppose I was just WAY out of my comfort zone and therefore didn't enjoy it as much. I've read praise of PLAYING HOUSE and I'm glad there are readers that can appreciate the author's unique way of writing. I will be trying out her other books. I like the honesty and emotional feeling of her words and I hope to enjoy the other books more than this one.


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