Saturday, 12 October 2019

My Drowning

Finished October 4
My Drowning by Jim Grimsley

This reminiscent novel has a woman looking back on her memories growing up in extreme poverty.  The woman's name is Ellen Tote, and throughout she describes the dreams she's had of her past, and her memories as they are triggered by different elements, from geographical to physical to more ethereal. Ellen had an older sister and three older brothers, one of whom was disabled. She also had younger siblings and we see how she reacted to their arrival as she remembers various events from her earlier life.
Ellen's father was lazy and a drinker. He was also the main one who took in a brother who'd been disabled during an accident. Her mother wasn't a proud housewife, letting the house fall into bad repair and Ellen's older sister doing most of the cooking.
Occasionally Ellen was able to get away: helping her paternal aunt look after her grandmother in the last months of her life, having a friend whose father owned land. She became exposed to things beyond those at home: from house-proud women to church to pretty things one took care of.
This novel is sad, yet because we know that Ellen did better in her life, also hopeful.
The title comes from a recurring dream that Ellen has of her mother slowly drowning. She returns to the old places they lived in as she looks for answers to the meaning of these dreams.

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