2 years ago
I do not know how many times I have said this before or how many times I will say this again but Roxane Gay is my new favorite.
I picked up An Untamed State because my new favorite author wrote it, however I was unprepared for how much it would affect me.
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay is romantic, endearing, disturbing, and painfully raw all at once. Yes, all of those things. If you do not believe me, read the book.
Born in the US to Haitian immigrants, Mireille hears the stories of a Haiti filled with poverty, sickness, and hardships from her parents. Mireille learns to love a Haiti filled with sunshine, beaches, and good times. Brought up under the critical eye of her father, Mireille excels at everything, desperate to meet his impossible standards. She meets Michael and they fall in love despite the differences in their upbringings and culture. They live a fairy tale life in Miami, oblivious to everything but their love.
Mireille is kidnapped, snatched from the arms of her husband and family. She is plunged into a dark underworld where morality ceases to exist and is introduced to a part of herself she never needed before, a part that will stop at nothing to survive. She learns what happens when the have-nots have had enough.
An Untamed State is not always a pretty story and there are demons unearthed that are unable to crawl back into the closet. I had to put the back down multiple times, disgusted by what I was reading but also transfixed. Intertwined with the horror are pieces of a love story, the coming together of two imperfect people struggling to make it work. You begin to fall in love with this couple, they are endearing, and you want to root for them. And then you plunged back into Mireille’s nightmare. She has a gift to conjure a myriad of emotions within just a few pages.
Mireille’s survival became my survival and I had to remind myself to breathe. Roxane Gay does not tie this story with a pretty bow; the characters are stripped raw and left exposed.
It makes you wonder, what would you do?