So. I don’t know what it is about this book, Woman On The Edge Of Time by Marge Piercy, but the first chapter took me hours to read. I find it very hard to dislike a book, but after reading the first few chapters, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is better to read chapter 2 first as the pacing is just better and reading it in that order will allow it to flow better for the reader. The events of the first chapter are written better in the following 2 chapters. Its almost as if the writing gets better over time. I understand that it is to help show the reader how bad Consuela has it, but again, it is better expressed in the following chapters. The title is interesting as the first chapter takes place after the second chapter.
Connie ( Consuela) has been falsely locked up in a psychiatric hospital. This poor woman has struggled most of her life. Her parents made it clear early on that she should know her place in life, and that even going to college is a dream she should give up on. (Piercy 38) She has been married a few times, and in each instance it seems that she is worse off. When she actually does get a comfortable job as a “secretary-mistress-errand girl-laundress-maid-research assistant” (Piercy 42) we see that she really is not that special and is just being used yet again, by a man. This isn’t that surprising, as during this time period, most women were raised to be like this. Thankfully this archaic thinking is disappearing in our current era, but it sets the mindset of Connie, and why she makes mistake after mistake.
As i read these first four chapters, i keep asking myself if she really is crazy. (Piercy 85) When she is being moved to a new ward, she is questioned by the doctors, and we become aware of the fact that she has been hit in the head multiple times throughout her life. Early on, its established that she is has used drugs in the past as well, so i find myself questioning as to whether her meeting with Luciente is real? Since it only seems to happen when no one is around, it is easy to assume that its all an affect of the medication they are forcing upon her.
But if this is really happening, the future seems like an interesting place. Humanity has evolved into an androgynous race, where everyone lives in simple dwellings working together to better themselves. As the future is described, i can’t help but think back to the exhibit we went to see on the changing world. Humans living in harmony with nature and recycling everything is what we can hope for. I enjoyed that early on Luciente talks about how eating in pill form turns out bad, something that growing up, was a staple of media describing the future. Cities are no longer a thing, and everyone has their own space. Its a very interesting idea, and sounds ideal.
Piercy, Marge. Woman on the Edge of Time. New York: Knopf, 1976. Print.