I just finished The Untamed State by Roxane Gay, and I’d love to share my thoughts with you if you’d let me. I have a feeling this is going to be a hard review to write, given that it was a hard book to read.
I found The Untamed State after having “Anything/Everything by Roxane Gay” on my reading list for a while. One of my friends is a big fan of hers, and I’ve been meaning to check out Bad Feminism for a while (and thanks to my husband, I finally have it!). But a couple of weeks ago, this book was on the shelf at my most frequented library like it was just sitting there waiting for me to check it out.
So I did.
Like I said earlier, this was a hard read, friends. Not writing-wise, mind you. It was beautifully and powerfully written, sucking you in from the very first sentence and leaving you feeling like you’re holding your breath until the last page. But the subject matter, the emotions, the pain that are in its pages made my heart ache; I cried often.
The Untamed State follows the kidnapping, imprisonment, and torture of a Haitian-American woman in Port-au-Prince. While there visiting family, she’s taken by a group of men hoping her father will pay a steep ransom.
The first half of the book details her thirteen days of captivity, interwoven with flashbacks of her life – mostly falling in love with her husband. The second half of the book deals with “the after” – Mirielle and her family trying to heal and make sense of what just happened. The character development in each of the characters is truly a work of art.
This book is heart-breaking and painful, but it’s also hopeful at times and always beautiful. Gay’s writing is phenomenal, poetic, and raw – so necessary for a book like this. She does the subject justice.
While The Untamed State is definitely not for the faint of heart, I’d encourage you to consider reading it. It puts so many different types of privilege into perspective – which is something we all need.
Up next for Summer Reading 2017:
- The Obelisk Gate by N.K Jemisin
- The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
- Prophetic Lament by Soong-Chan Rah