I’m having a tough time in the reading department.
First, there was the scene in Sweetness in the Belly, during a party thrown for two little Ethiopian girls (the same age as my girls). It looks like a birthday party; the guest of honour is the midwife that delivered them. In a ritual we don’t initially understand, the midwife takes them between her legs, whips out a razor blade and slices off strips of their labia. Female genital mutilation: just the thing for bedtime. Sweetness well written: the reader feels all the shock and horror felt by the narrator, who has inadvertently sponsored the party. But it’s not really what I need at the moment.
Now I’ve started on Donna Morrissey’s The Deception of Livvy Higgs, and while it’s not exactly warm and fuzzy, I have to admit I was NOT prepared for Livvy’s father bashing her cat’s head in with a rock. Neither was Livvy. The image is bad enough, but Tabs has been her sole source of comfort since her mother died and OH MY GOD her FATHER. OH my GOD her CAT.
It takes powerful writing to evoke emotions in the reader, and I admire the writers who can do it so effectively. But after an emotional month, I’m getting tired of feeling sucker-punched by my bedtime reading. There’s enough distress in real life at the moment, thank you very much.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go curl up with a good cookbook.