I read In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado not only because I loved her short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, but also because the subject appealed to me: the emotional chaos caused by an abusive relationship.
“You have forgotten that leaving is an option.”
Machado’s writing is clever, poetic at times, and sharp when it needs to be. The structure of her memoir in very short chapters is the perfect vehicle to tell a personal tale while dissecting the mechanism inherent in abuse. How does a victim let it happen?
“You realize how sympathy and antagonism can coexist. You are discovering how many seemingly incompatible emotions can thrive, side by side, in the same human heart.”
The references to popular motives in folk tales—about breaking taboos for example—made this memoir even more insightful.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in twisted love and its presence in our culture.