Monday, August 6, 2007

The Sadness of Maps is more like it

I went to the library without a list and without my handy Honey book to guide me along and I succumbed to grabbing books at random. "The Insufficiency of Maps" by Nora Pierce is a story of mental illness, Native Americans and substance abuse. I know, cheery stuff. The prose seemed lovely, told from a five-year-old's perspective and follows her as she gets bigger. But honestly, it was so depressing. You can't help but pity the girl's mother, since she's obviously mentally ill and out of control, but what was most depressing was that the book felt like it had no point. You just watched this family spiral further and further out of control until you didn't think it could possibly get any worse. Then the book ended. Seriously, that was it. Why Nora? Why? Was it to show us the way the White man has destroyed the lives of Native Americans forever? Was it to intimately describe how this woman destroyed her daughter's life because she never got help for her illness? What?

I think I'll go read Harry Potter again.


  1. Glad to know this. I will avoid it. I cannot handle sadness. There is enough sadness in the world, I don't need to read about it. I enjoy light-hearted, humorous, happy novels.

  2. Here at work it is interesting to see that depression gets not a lot of sympathy. I don't think is just the Native Americans who have problems dealing with this. We have pretty much cleared out the mental hospitals and put these people on the streets. I know of one guy here at work that was told that they were considering cutting back on the support for anti-depressant drugs. He went to the company president and complained. He told him that unless he had ever had the barrel of a gun in his mouth with full intention of pulling the trigger, then he was in no position to judge whether or not the drugs were necessary or not. That was a shocker for me as I knew he had some depression, but didn't know it was at that state of emergency.

    Anyway, a long ramble.

  3. Sounds like your company president needs some sensitivity training. What a jerk.
    My main issue with this book is that the only emotion it invoked was pity. Was that the author's purpose, that we should pity her characters? It seems like she could have used her theme to find some hope amidst despair. But nope, no hope.

  4. The thing with depression is that you feel so devoid of hope. And when you have that severe of depression, you don't necessarily want pity. You want to curl up, go to sleep and never wake up again. You're at a complete loss on how to deal with life and your emotions. I wonder if that's why she avoided hope.