Monday, April 30, 2012

A Shakespearean View of Freud, by Stephen Sangirardi

Something in his romantic past has cause two phenomena to appear in Rob Conti's life: intense jealousy/insecurity, and a pretty wicked show fetish.  And those two phenomena are so incredibly intertwined, it is hard to determine if they are, in fact, two separate things.  Regardless, both things are contributing to the total destruction of Rob's marriage.  What will happen when this young librarian finds the tables turned, and becomes the cheater he always accuses his partners of being?

Whew, did this book ever evoke a strong reaction to me.  If ever there was a case where I loved the writing, but hated the storyline, this was it.  Let me explain.  I hated the storyline because it hit entirely too close to home.  You see, I once dated a man who was like Rob Conti, minus the fetish.  Each day was an interrogation regarding who I had spoken with, and whether or not I had "behaved".  If my eyes happened to stray beyond my plate in a restaurant, he was convinced I was sizing up another man, and making plans with the man.  This book read a bit like a diary of that relationship, and view of what my life would have been had the relationship continued.  Actually, it was pretty frightening.  The fact that this book elicited such a strong reaction from me proves the power of the writing.

The book is so unique, in that the first part is in typical novel literary form, and the second part is written as a play.  I quite liked the juxtaposition of the two forms.  It kept things interesting, and helped me see the two parts of the story in very different ways.  There are lots of allusions to Shakespeare, particularly Othello, which I quite liked.  I found the characters were well developed, and despite some similarities in their names, had no trouble keeping the characters straight and understanding where the story was going.

In the end, my initial reaction of "hatred" was unfair; I do not actually hate the book, I hate the fact that men like Rob Conti actually exist, giving the author perfect inspiration to write a wonderful, albeit disturbing, story.


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I received a review copy courtesy of the author and publisher.