Wednesday, April 30, 2014

{Review} UNWELL by Marie Chow

ISBN #: 978-1494941208
Page Count: 306
Copyright: January 7, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

(Taken from Amazon)

How do you tell your child that you won’t be there when they grow up? UNWELL is the raw, honest story of a mother who writes to her unborn child, sharing her decision of choosing not to be a mother. She doesn’t choose abortion. Nor does she consider adoption. Instead, she decides to give her child a fighting chance in life, without the angst and drama that’s shaped her own bittersweet life.

With a poignant lack of emotion, the young mother shares her life story. As the child of Asian parents who moved to America early in her life, the mother shares how her life disintegrated after her parents’ divorce. From upper middle class suburban to sharing her mean aunt’s house to a one bedroom apartment in a shabby neighborhood, this mother endures the indignity that comes with the change of status. From her father’s absence to her mother becoming a married man’s mistress, her story reads like a tragic Victorian novel set in the 21st century, but that’s where the similarity ends—she is definitely not a shy country miss and she certainly did not take the easy way out.

Charlene's Review:

Unwell is a haunting story of a Chinese American woman chronicling her life for the unborn child she is carrying, and that she has chosen to never know. It is the story of her life, its choices, and their consequences. While unsettling, Ms. Chow takes the reader on a journey that most can appreciate on some level.

To say I liked this book’s content would be a travesty. I was deeply touched by her raw honesty, and appalled at the same time by the naked emotions portrayed with such flat affect. After finishing the book, it made much more sense in the cultural aspect, and I felt compassion for someone so damaged by her world. We never learn the identity of the narrator, which adds to the mystique of the story, and yet, it also added to the discontent this reader felt.

I wish we had been given a glimpse of what transpired after the birth; how the young woman made her escape, and how her story continued. I finished it feeling rather undone by it all. Having said that, this is a tremendous work of literature. Gritty and poignant, Ms. Chow has a personal style that flows freely and grips the reader, whether they like it or not.

*A physical copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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