Having enjoyed handmaid’s tale TV series and books I didn’t hesitate to check out Alias Grace also by Margaret Atwood. It’s a fascinating story about a young girl falsely accused of murder and her experiences of the Victorian justice system.
The book is loosely based on a true story. I was really pleased this was clarified in the authors afterword. I had suspected this was the case throughout the book. The story somehow feels real if that makes any sense? There are no perfect characters or neatly tied up story lines, at least not until the very end of the book.
Each chapter begins with excerpts from letters, newspaper articles and the like. I’m not a fan of this style of writing. I find it breaks the story up in an awkward and disjointed way.
However I found the story utterly fascinating and so I still couldn’t wait for the next opportunity to enjoy it.
Grace is falsely accused of murdering her boss and her employer. She spends the next 30 years of her life in a combination of sanitoriums and prison. She was eventually pardoned and released.
I found myself wondering how could grace deal with such unjustified degradation and stay sane? Stay “good” according to the ridiculous moral standards of the time. If the guards had had their way with her for example she would be ruined regardless of weather she consented or not. She was simultaneously expected to obey them and refuse them. And if she had complained she would have been further punished.
I suspect that she did develop some mental health issues as we would call them today. How could she not?
In her shoes I am quite sure I would have become angry, very angry. Angry with her father for abusing and neglecting her mother. Angry with her mother for being unable to protect her children, for dying even. Angry with the man who effectively murdered her friend and got away with it. Angry with the people who helped him get away without taking any responsibility. Angry with the employers who took advantage of her. With the lawyers who wouldn’t listen to her. The jailer who tried to abuse her. A whole big ball of anger.
And at the end of the day what really is the difference between anger and madness?
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I do hope this book review has inspired you to read Alias Grace for yourself.
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A Little Bit About Me . . .
Thank you so much for stopping by my corner little of the interweb. I’m Bridie, mum to two small humans, full time homemaker and full time craftaholic – which totally explains why I’m always short on time!
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