Friday, January 30, 2015

Review: An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

An Untamed StateAn Untamed State by Roxane Gay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow. This book is one of those books that stand out from others because it's brutal in content but also beautifully written. Despite the very real horrors in the story, I could not stop reading. I am rarely moved by a novel like I was by this one. I cried a number of times and had my breath taken away many times. After years of working with sexual abuse victims as they heal, I was very taken by how very real this novel felt - raw, honest, and brutal. I feel like Gay has expertly captured the experience and feelings of someone being violated in this way. I feel like this sort of thing is rarely done well in the novels that I've read ... and this novel blows almost all of those out of the park.

Roxane Gay has an incredible voice. The things she explores through the experiences of Mireille really resonate with me as a woman ... and as a human. Although this is in no way an easy read, I think it is a very important one. I haven't been able to get it off my mind since finishing ... it's truly stuck with me and continues to make me think.

I don't think this is a book that's for everyone. If you're a survivor of sexual abuse, this novel may be too difficult for you to read. If you're uncomfortable with themes of abuse, especially those graphically depicted, you may want to skip this book. But, if you can get through it, it is definitely worth taking the time. I feel strange saying that I loved this novel (given its content) but I am very glad that I read it.

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