Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Notorious Life by Madame X

Kate Manning
My Notorious Life by Madame X

Bloomsbury, 2013

My Notorious Life by Madame X is a very lively story about how to make your way from the bottom. The novel is written without a gram of sentimentality or ridiculous baby talk about orphans. If you're an orphan, and you became someone, well done. If not - sorry, no luck. For the fact that you're an orphan, you won’t get bonuses from luck.

With the abundance of details, as here, the novel deserves to be called not only historical, but also manufacturing. We are witnessing the birth of not an ordinary for its time business, its formation, alteration, enlargement. At that time women rarely did business, and here it is well documented: Annie herself, the main character, is engaged in only one aspect of the business, all the documentation is the work of her husband. We will be shown the figures, secrets, fragments of ads, examples of recipes - complete authenticity (though you can’t really check it). Annie is an admiration. How she finds a way out of the difficult situations, how she takes difficult decisions, how she is driven by money first, but later by the senses.

In addition to the unusual success story the novel offers even to speculate on difficult topics, among them the issue of abortion. Annie makes the choice, based on her challenging life experience. The fate of women is not easy: the missing at the time contraception forced women to give birth and give birth, until she died. Annie saw the death of her mother, saw the suffering of many women. Under her skin is so ingrained fear that she was afraid of not only pregnancy, but also sex, which can bring pleasure, but can result in pregnancy - that is pain, and possibly death. Annie chooses death - but death for lifeless. She makes abortion in early pregnancy cases to save the life of an adult. For her, this is not the question, the answer is already there - a woman is to live.

Changes occur not only in the life of the heroine, but in the novel’s style. As a resident of the bottom, Annie at the beginning of the book speaks poor English, making mistakes in times and single words (well, she uses strong language as well). But gradually Annie’s language improves, errors disappear, but salty phrases, however, remain. It is worth noting the author's discovery: many of foul language and all words related to pregnancy has written as a self-censorship. For example, pregnancy is written as p*******y, and miscarriage as m*sc*****ge.

The novel entertaines and keeps in suspense until the very end, and raises difficult issues. Historical novel is alive. Praise to Madame X.

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