Tuesday, August 18, 2015

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

2 Stars
“Once upon a time, my life was a fairy tale and then I was stolen from everything I’ve ever loved. There was no happily ever after. After days of dying, I was dead.”

You ever find yourself wanting to read something that makes you look a little like this . . .

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If so, then An Untamed State might be the book for you.

While vacationing at her parents’ mansion in Haiti, Mireille and her husband decide to take their baby to the beach. Once their car is past the safety of the gates they find themselves surrounded by armed men and Mireille is kidnapped. Over the course of 13 days Mireille is terrorized while waiting for her father to pay the demanded ransom – which he refuses to do on principal.

This is the story of one woman’s struggle to survive and the price she paid in order to do so . . .

“The body adapts, but the mind has limits.”

Who else didn’t like this book? Just me??? Alrighty then . . . .

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Oh wait, I see Licha over there waiting for me in the shame corner.

To me, An Untamed State read like the “movie of the week” version of a torture story. While I’m quite aware that kidnappings like these take place frequently, it was more than a bit farfetched for me to believe that Mireille and her husband would be venturing out of the family’s compound for a leisurely day at the beach. Buuuuuut, I looked past that and continued on to read not only about the brutality Mireille faced during the time she was held captive, but also for a trip down memory lane where I learned about her upbringing as well as how her relationship with her husband and his family evolved. That’s where things got a little too “Lifetimey” for me. Mireille was presented as pretty much a straight-up b*&^% with a “my way or the highway” approach to life due to her father’s attitude while she was growing up (which, of course, translates to her "never let 'em see you sweat" attitude while she is abducted). You learn how she married a real “cowboy” (complete with bigoted parents – yay /endsarcasm) and how she eventually won the hearts of the entire family (which really became a bit too big of a pill to swallow for me upon her return to the states after the kidnapping and caused excessive rolling of the eyeballs). Everyone else seemed to love this book, but to me it was mediocre chick-lit with some shock and awe factor thrown in that made readers run straight to the bookstore.

And speaking of shock and awe: Initiating the rape of YOURSELF with the bad guy’s gun????

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No.  Just no.

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