Friday, July 12, 2013

What Maisie Knew by Henry James

What a great book!  And now it's a per the above trailer.

First, I'm a huge Henry James fan.  Yes, his prose requires more work than does that of some local modern top sellers.  But he's worth it!  The way he writes packs so much cutting commentary on characters, society and life.  We watch the world unfold in a way that helps us see past pretense and masks into the heart of the matter.

Poor Maisie.  When the book starts she's about 6 and her parents have just undergone a horrific and bitter divorce.  Maisie is to be split between the two households, six months at a time so she can fully get acclimated to each horror.  A kind woman tries to intercede and remove her from this reality but loses.  I kept thinking - as I read - how Maisie's life would have been different had the woman succeeded and she'd been able to grow up in a sane and stable home.

I'm a child of divorce myself so could feel for Maisie.  Her parent's main use for her is to hurt or harm the other.  They aren't above sending nasty messages using her as the messenger.  And of course they say toxic things about each other to her poor innocent self.

And both parents each enter into new unbalanced relationships - full of infidelity and nasty games.  Her father marries the nanny that worked for her mother.  For people don't change because they've moved on to a new person.  Maisie learns to cope, both in healthy and unhealthy ways.  I won't spoil the ending but she does rise to the environment.

The book is a great read; not light but worth the effort.  I learn so much about people and their games from books like this one.  A +!

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