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In the Dream House: A Memoir

af Carmen Maria Machado

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
6113128,586 (4.51)37
The author's engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.… (mere)
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» Se også 37 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 30 (næste | vis alle)
In The Dream House is a stunningly inventive and moving account of Machado's time in an abusive relationship with an another woman.

Each chapter uses different forms of storytelling to paint a picture of what it was like to fall in love with someone who was then emotionally and verbally abusive. My favourite chapter was the 'Choose Your Own Adventure' section, which was both darkly funny and disturbing at the same time.

Machado also fills in some background about domestic violence in queer relationships in general, noting that people only really started talking about it in the 1980s. It was very enlightening to read about the differences in how queer and straight female victims of abuse are treated.

I read Her Body and Other Parties very recently and it was interesting to make connections between some of the themes in this memoir and some of the stories in that collection. Her trauma seems to have informed quite a lot of her writing, both directly and indirectly.

In The Dream House is a fantastic book. It's not the easiest to read in terms of the content, but it's so wonderfully written that I zipped through it anyway. It's both gripping and devastating. ( )
  mooingzelda | Apr 15, 2021 |
This is 4 stars for me as a memoir and 3 as a book overall. It's creative in that self-conscious, Iowa Writers' Workshop way. As the author herself notes, relationship violence is (sadly) not a unique story, and I wonder why she still feels compelled to tell it seven years after the fact. Not a criticism, just a curiosity. Personally, I stopped telling my story after about a year, although I still think about it often; 25 years and it still doesn't make sense. When I was in my 20s, it seemed like writing it and getting it out in the open was the way to figure it out, but I wouldn't feel comfortable sharing such intimate pieces of myself these days. I think that about a lot of memoirs, though. ( )
1 stem ImperfectCJ | Mar 4, 2021 |
This book feels like those screams that get caught in the back of your throat. A beautiful and painful memoir that echoes so many of my own experiences. ( )
  thereserose5 | Mar 3, 2021 |
This must be a very good book, because I had to keep reading, despite several issues. (1) it's a memoir about domestic violence in a Lesbian relationship, so a tough topic. (2) It's quite literary, so sometimes hard to follow. (3) It's told partly and first person, and then partly in second person (4) The book's font is too small, and hard to read. It has footnotes, which I had to skip.

I find second person narrative hard. I think it worked in this book as it emphasized the narrator's shaky sense of self. The book does a really good job of showing how emotional abuse impacts the victim.

Also, the book has a fascinating ending. ( )
  banjo123 | Feb 28, 2021 |
wow, this book.

this is devastating and gorgeous and i feel badly for loving something this much when it is so full of pain and hurt. (but also exquisite writing and depth of thought and honesty and history and folklore.)

and footnotes! (i mean, i really love footnotes, but these are amazing.)

i need to think more about what she does here: what her few researched sections on queer history do for the narrative that her own story doesn't; how she writes in different styles and innovatively (that choose your own adventure section!); and most importantly when she uses the first person (sprinkled in) versus second person (most of the time). i might not have the exact answers to all of these questions, but i do know that this is absolutely brilliant and necessary and so well written/done. (edit to add some thoughts: it's like she's showing us little snippets of the relationship to get at the truth of what it was like for her. it's also how memory works, showing pieces at a time or events in flashes. each little chapter is a little insight into her life when she was with the woman in the dream house, and each showed her a little something different about that woman, and so we are given a new voice or a new way of telling or a surprising turn. the change between first and second person pulls us in and pushes us away, something the woman in the dream house did to carmen over and over again, keeping her from feeling sure and comfortable with where she was, who she was, in that relationship.)

"'Don't you ever fucking write about this. Do you fucking understand me?'

You don't know if she means the woman or her, but you nod.

Fear makes liars of us all."

"...and also you're afraid you're going to miss your flight because your girlfriend spent her time this morning putting on her face, an expression you've always found sort of funny and vaguely sexist but that now just strikes you as horrifyingly ominous, because it suggests that she has one face and needs to put on another, and you saw underneath it last night, when you were so afraid and cowering, and she was screaming, and you were hiding from her, hiding from the woman who once told you she loved you and wanted to have children with you and called you the most beautiful and sexy and brilliant woman she'd ever met, you had to hide from her in a bathroom with a lock on the door, and if your family found out they'd probably think it proved every idea they've ever had about lesbians, and you wish she was a man because then at least it could reinforce ideas people had about men, and how she probably wouldn't understand but the last thing queer women need is bad fucking PR..."

"Putting language to something for which you have no language is no easy feat."

"From the corner of my eye, I stared at her freckles and imagined kissing her mouth. When I thought about her, I squirmed, tormented. What did it mean?

I had a crush on her. That's it. It wasn't complicated. But I didn't realize I had a crush on her. Because it was the early 2000s and I was just a baby in the suburbs without a reliable internet connection. I didn't know any queers. I did not understand myself. I didn't know what it meant to want to kiss another woman.

Years later, I'd figured that part out. But then, I didn't know what it meant to be afraid of another woman.

Do you see now? Do you understand?"

to refer back to when reading her book of short stories:
"You will spend the next few years of your writing career coming up with elaborate justifications for the structure of the stories you were writing at the time...
You can't bring yourself to say what you really think: I broke the stories down because I was breaking down and didn't know what else to do."

a quote from sarah manguso: "The trouble with letting people see you at your worst isn't that they'll remember, it's that you'll remember." ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | Feb 25, 2021 |
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You pile up associations the way you pile up bricks. Memory itself is a form of architecture.
—Louise Bourgeois
If you are silent about your pain, they'll kill you and say you enjoyed it.
—Zora Neale Hurston
Your mind indeed is tired. Your mind so tired that it can no longer work at all. You do not think. You dream. Dream all day long. Dream everything. Dream maliciously and incessantly. Don't you know that by now?
—Patrick Hamilton, Angel Street
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The author's engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.

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