Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Book Review: Your Story, My Story

If you follow me on Goodreads you maybe saw that I decided on 128 books for my 2021 Reading Challenge goal. My friend Andrea gifted me a weekly planner so I decided to use that solely for my blogging and Instagram goals, so I feel like I can be diligent about my reading all year so hopefully I can actually make that goal. I basically have to read two and a half books every week. All year. Think good thoughts, lambs. 

Your Story, My Story - Connie Palmen

In 1963 Sylvia Plath took her own life in her London flat. Her death was the culmination of a brief, brilliant life lived in the shadow of clinical depression—a condition exacerbated by her tempestuous relationship with mercurial poet Ted Hughes. The ensuing years saw Plath rise to martyr status while Hughes was cast as the cause of her suicide, his infidelity at the heart of her demise.

For decades, Hughes never bore witness to the truth of their marriage—one buried beneath a mudslide of apocryphal stories, gossip, sensationalism, and myth. Until now.

In this mesmerizing fictional work, Connie Palmen tells his side of the story, previously untold, delivered in Ted Hughes’s own uncompromising voice. A brutal and lyrical confessional, Your Story, My Story paints an indelible picture of their seven-year relationship—the soaring highs and profound lows of star-crossed soul mates bedeviled by their personal demons. It will forever change the way we think about these two literary icons.
I went out on a bit of a limb to read this one, if you have been following me for awhile you know that literary fiction isn't really something I read a lot of. I have been seeing this book all over Instagram and the cover is just intriguing and I couldn't say no. I also should note that I am not terribly well versed in the story of Sylvia Plath (except the highlights, of course) and I always seem to forget she was ever with Ted Hughes, so I didn't remember that there was ever anger towards him for her death although she clearly committed suicide. All of that to say that because I am not knowledgeable in this history, I can't tell you how reliable this could be called Ted Hughes's point of view. It is, of course, a work of fiction, but it really does read as if it is a reprint of a journal or maybe even an interview years later. 

YOUR STORY, MY STORY is well written but without chapters, merely only periodic line breaks so it makes it difficult to take a break during the book. The writing does sound rather... snooty? I suppose if it is written as if Ted Hughes has written it, that is maybe true to form, but it made it difficult to get into for me. When the story veers off into the drama between Plath and Hughes, that was the most captivating for me because any kind of glimpse into the demise of someone is captivating, as terrible as that sounds. I definitely can't call this a love story although I think the intention is to turn two people who really probably shouldn't have been together into a romantic goal, saying she loved me so much she killed herself, thus binding us and our story together. This isn't a Romeo and Juliet story but it almost feels like this relationship is being sold as such. Certainly, Hughes was a dirt bag in his own right but Plath was clearly unstable in her own right that I wonder if she used him as an excuse to end her life. 

I mean, who knows. I was reading this late at night and was starting to get confused so I feel like I am missing plot points. 

Overall? It was definitely an ambitious and interesting take on a tumultuous love story that doesn't really seem like a love story after all. Instead it seems like the story of two young people, each brilliant in their own way but having no idea who they are or what they could become, being drawn together. It's like two stars combusting, and nobody ends up brighter in the end. It was sad in parts and I think if you are a fan of Sylvia Plath, or maybe you hate Ted Hughes, this would be a really intriguing read for you. 

Thank you to Over the River PR for having me on this tour and providing a copy for review! 

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1 comment:

Why Girls Are Weird said...

I think it's easy to forget that these people are PEOPLE. That they can make mistakes, they have flaws, they're just as human as us. You heard the names Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath and I think you just think of their brilliance. You forget that once upon a time everyone is young and stupid.