An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
This is the kind of book that haunts you long after you’ve turned the last page. This story of a young, hopeful wife and mother being kidnapped then held and tortured for 13 days is such a testament to what we can endure.
As she slowly “dies,” forgetting all she knew, all the comforts she was used to as the daughter of a wealthy Haitian business man, all the love her husband lavished on her and all the love she was eager to give her baby son, she also learns to survive.
She plays the game these young and frightened rebels force her to play and she wins in the end. But during those 13 days of violence, I feel her pain. I cry for her as her breast milk dries up and her body begins to forget her baby boy. I cry for her as she faces the hard truth that her father is not as willing as she hoped to part with his fortune for her freedom.
But of all the possible characters in the novel, Mirielle’s mother in law, Lorraine, a cancer-stricken, white, farm owner, who wasn’t so welcoming to her in the beginning becomes Mirielle’s savior, of sorts. She returns an old favor and helps to nurse her daughter-in-law back to health and life after the traumatizing ordeal. Their relationship is beautiful. They made me smile throughout the many pages of nail biting and tears.
Needless to say, this emotional roller-coaster has made it hard to move on to another book.
Good luck to me and to you too, if you decide to read it.