Thursday 28 June 2012

Book ~ "Magnified World" (2012) Grace O'Connell

From Goodreads ~ What's a girl supposed to do after her mother kills herself by walking into the Don River with her pockets full of unpolished zircon stones? Maggie removes the zircon stones from the inventory of the family's New Age shop and opens up for another day of business. Then her blackouts begin, as do the visits from a mysterious customer who offers help for Maggie's blackouts and her project of investigating her mother's past in the American South. Is Maggie breaking down in the way her mother did, or is her "madness" a distinctive show of grief? Nobody really knows, not her father, her boyfriend or her psychiatrist, and especially not Maggie, who has to make some crazy decisions in order to work to feel sane again. A vivid look at the various confusions that can set in after a trauma and an insightful, gently funny portrait of a woman in her early twenties, especially relatable to readers who grew up in the eighties and nineties, Magnified World dramatizes the battle between the head and the heart and the limitations of both in unlocking something as complicated as loss.

I'd read about this book this month in the Toronto Star. It attracted me because it's set in Toronto. It actually takes place just northeast of us ... Maggie's store is across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park, in the same block as our vet.

I liked the writing style. Written in first person, I was drawn to Maggie's story of how she is coping with the suicide of her mom and discovering who her mom was. I found the secondary characters like her dad, boyfriend and best friend cold and unsympathetic. They didn't seem overly concerned that she was having blackouts and losing track of time. They let her drive a car and a bike, which have disastrous results.

When she starts to have blackouts, she starts to see a psychiatrist at CAMH (in our 'hood). I didn't find Dr. Rosenberg very likeable and I didn't see the point of why so much time was spent with him using her for his research. He took her blood samples and everything. Huh?

Gil is a fella she met after her blackouts began. Was he real? Was he a ghost? Was the a figment of her imagination? Was she crazy? I have no idea. I was waiting to find out the resolution of this but I never got it. I guess I missed something.

Though I liked this book, I found it confusing. I have no idea whether Maggie was following the same path as her mother or if she ended up being cured at the end. Perhaps you can read it and let me know.

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