* CONTAINS SPOILERS
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1892)
I didn’t remember until after I read it that The Yellow Wallpaper was referenced in the first series of American Horror Story which was about a possessed house. When the wife gripes to the housekeeper that her husband doesn’t believe the bizarre things she’s witnessing, the housekeeper tells her about TYW. I thought their conversation would make a good summary of the story.
Moira: Haven’t you read “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman?
Moira: Her husband, a doctor, locks her away in the upstairs bedroom to recuperate from a slight hysterical tendency. Staring at the yellow wallpaper day after day, she begins to hallucinate that there are women trapped in the pattern… Half mad, she scrapes off the wallpaper to set the women free. When her husband finally unlocks the door he finds her circling the room, touching the wallpaper, whispering “I finally got out of here.”
Since the beginning of time, men find excuses to lock women away. They make up diseases, like hysteria. Do you know where that word comes from? The Greek word for “uterus.” “Do you know where the word “hysteria” comes from? It’s Greek for “uterus”. The only possible cure was hysterical paroxysm. Orgasms. Doctors would masturbate women in their office and call it medicine.”
American Horror Story, Season 1, Episode 8, Rubber Man
The Yellow Wallpaper is not only a creepy story that catches you off guard by how quickly the narrator spirals into madness, but an interesting commentary on how women were perceived as weaklings and, as a result, suffocated as every aspect of their daily lives was controlled.
The story ended! But really it was the perfect length. I don’t know why it was classified as a novella because it’s really a short story.
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Honeymoon in Paris by Jojo Moyes
In 2012, Liv Halston and her husband, David, go to Paris for their honeymoon after a whirlwhind courtship and quickie marriage. But the trip is less than perfect when David constantly takes off on business leaving Liv by herself in the world’s most romantic city. One hundred years before them, Sophie and Édouard Lefèvre are also enjoying a honeymoon in Paris. Sophie is a provincial girl who somehow won the heart of up and coming artist, Edouard. She doesn’t realize how complicated loving a man with such a colourful past can be until that past starts rubbing her nose in it.
Overall, Honeymoon in Paris was a lovely story about the emotional baggage that can get in the way of people loving and accepting each other. I could relate to the two female characters because I have unintentionally sabotaged romance in past relationships by getting caught up in feelings of jealousy, suspicion, insecurity and high expectations.
It wasn’t clear if there was any connection between the two Paris couples. I guess it means I have to get my hands on The Girl You Left Behind Soon to find out.
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The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
A young boy is introduced to an underground part of the library he has never seen before and is held against his will to complete a task or lose his life.
The Strange Library had a wonderful eerie folk tale feeling and I actually felt a little chilled reading it by myself at night. Even the illustrations in the book added another layer to the way I experienced the book. I only wish I could understand the symbolism or understand the point of the story, but I’m not good at deciphering that kind of thing.
Nothing! I really liked it.
Did you participate in Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-thon? What was your favourite book?