Nope. And That’s A Big Nope.

//Nope. And That’s A Big Nope.

Nope. And That’s A Big Nope.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m no expert on PTSD. But I suspect Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State, knows only slightly more than I do.

In Untamed, Mireille Duval Jameson is kidnapped by resentful thugs. Miri’s Haitian father made good as a civil engineer in the U.S. Now he’s back in Haiti, where his wealth sticks out like a whale on a baseball diamond. But it’s not infinite. Therefore, he won’t pay ransom.

So there sits Miri, confined in a hot and squalid room, enduring unspeakable things (this is not a clean read), missing her husband and baby, hoping somebody will come for her.

Miri wed a Nebraska farm boy. Gay portrays their romance as boy sees girl, boy chases girl, girl says go-away-get-lost-I-don’t-want-you, boy still chases, boy gets girl. Really, how is it done? I haven’t had much luck winning friends and lovers when I pull a hissy, get-lost act.

But what the author’s doing here is setting up a Mireille who will fight her captors. Miri gets in some good punches and some zinger lines. But I kept thinking of this book in which the author reports on a boxing match between a fierce woman at the top of her sport and a transgender opponent. The lady got creamed, spent some days recovering in a hospital.

So, no matter how much Gay wants to write an opus to Girl Power, no matter how much I’d like to cheer on Miri as she bites, scratches and kicks, I don’t buy it.

Then there are the post-rescue chapters, a contrivance where the traumatized Miri can’t stop saying, “I’m am nothing. I am meat.” Or “I wanted that drink of water. I didn’t want it.” Or Miri making dramatic exits and running away, pretty agile stuff for a woman with broken ribs and glass-cut feet.

In the end, I gave up. I was more eager to check Gay’s Amazon reviews than learn Miri’s fate.

Like I said, I’m no expert on PTSD. But if Gay did her research . . .

Hey, let’s check her acknowledgments page.

Hmm. Yes. I see. She thanks editors, her writing group, special friends. But not a word about experts.

Can we just call up Elizabeth Smart and get her opinion?

Photo credit: Blue Skyz Miami via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND

By | 2017-10-22T16:17:17+00:00 October 22nd, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

About the Author:

Kristen Carson was born in Idaho. She has lived in Utah, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania. She currently resides near Indianapolis. She and her husband are the parents of four adult children. Carson's stories and articles have appeared in Chicago Parent, Indianapolis Monthly, and Dialogue: a Journal of Mormon Thought.

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