This was tough to read. Bydlowska is brutal, open, and honest in her narrative. She lays it ALL out there—all of it: her strong desire—passion, rather—to drink; trying to maintain her sex appeal despite lactating; the lack of connectivity and feeling during intimacy. It’s all there. Bold and exposed.
Despite it all, Bydlowska demonstrates her strongness in her motherhood. She recognizes the dangers; she plans around her blackouts; pumps when she knows her milk may be poison. Her joy for motherhood is exhilarating. Her ripping conflict between drink and child is persistent.
The other important factor is the power of family and loved ones. Her sister and her lover come together as a bonding agent for deliverance. They act as the stronghold that she can depend upon, especially when she can find no strength within herself. It is trying and wearing to behold.
That’s makes this tough: the striking nature through a stream of conscious narrative over an extended period of time. There is merit to this type of reading, but the emotional beating was a bit too heavy to outlast three-hundred pages. While there is hope, in the end there is still a lingering doubt: a remaining piece of darkness. I feel touched by the author, and thankful for her openness, but I leave bedraggled.
Thank you to the Penguin Group for providing me with an electronic copy of this book to review.