Patient Zero: Nickoli wrote:
What you guys don't seem to realize what I am saying is that the book was not what she advertised it to be. It was not about the historical events, the comparisons. It did not talk much about bipolar as an illness. It was about a story she wrote...
...Yet what the book was, was telling a story about someone else. But the book was more of a novel. A story. Taking some reality and injecting it in the novel. Though the reality is truth, it is not the basis of the story.
What I'm trying to say, and maybe not doing very well, for which I apologize, is: that's the way you're supposed to feel at first. The allegorical tradition she's writing in is deliberately constructed so that you can walk away after reading it and feel like you've read a story, which may have some metaphors and comments about something else, but is generally just a story. Seeing the real story, the truths she's telling you, involves a lot of deeper looking and finding connections where you didn't see them at first; not because you missed them, but because you weren't really supposed to find them right away. It creates an entertaining world that you can take as-is, or delve into, at your own discretion.
I really like that particular style of writing, and would have been rather disappointed if she'd written in the Hornbacher/Wurtzel tradition of "this is what happened to me and this is what I felt and this is what I think about it". A lot of people disagree, and prefer more open stories with clear connections. I don't think one has any more intellectual or literary merit than the other. All I'm really saying is that the things you seem to be looking for weren't left out through oversight or misunderstanding... they're in there. You just aren't really meant to find them right away, not until you've finished enjoying the story. The Asylum isn't a collection of journal entries, alongside a fictional story of a Victorian girl who has a similar life, any more than Jekyll & Hyde is about alchemy, Star Wars is about outer space, Oroonoko about the slave trade. With-a-y's story isn't running alongside or mirroring Emilie's, it is
her story. Just because it has a Count, and a leech, and hysterectomy, and Emilie's doesn't, doesn't mean they aren't the same... it just means a Count, a leech, and a hysterectomy may not actually be those things. May not even be a person, an object, and a procedure.
I'm not sure if they still do this, but one way they used to get small children who had suffered abuse to begin speaking about it was to give them a doll or a picture that resembled them, and ask them to make up a story about that child's life. Not because the story they'd tell would directly reflect their own, but because they would use that premise to say what was otherwise unspeakable. It's a self defense mechanism... sometimes, the only way to tell your story is to claim it for somebody else.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)localkaty