I quite enjoyed this book, despite some of its darker themes. I think the portions about time travel were reasonable, non-sterotypical (rockets and lasers and all) and did not require me to suspend my disbelief to enjoy the book.
Marge Piercy leaves it up to the reader to decide whether Connie is schizophrenic or actually traveling to the future in her mind. Either way, the future in Mattapoisett is thought-provoking, remarkably well-rounded, and vividly pictured. It is society that has decided all inequality originates with the division of male/female, and so has chosen to have both men and women "mother" and breed babies technologically in a "brooder." It is also a communal society, focused on sharing and the greater good instead of on the individual. An astounding read that I highly recommend.
A woman is deemed crazy by her family, and then while living in an instution is visited by people from the future. It sounds like a bizarre premise, but this is a fantastic book on feminism, mental health, with a slight utopian twist.
This book written in the 1970s does not seem antiquated. Very interesting story of a woman trapped in the mental health system because she is a poor minority woman. She is contacted by the future. The story is well balanced between the present day (1970s) mental health system and a possible future of earth. Although there is a touch of feminist writing it is not a typical feminist storyline and I think could be enjoyed by all people. It is worth the time to read it.
With honest and compelling prose, Marge Piercy delves into the mind of thirty-seven-year-old Consuelo (Connie) Ramos, a woman who exists on the fringes of life in contemporary New York City. Early in the novel Connie beats up her niece's pimp and is committed - again - to the psychiatric ward in Bellevue Hospital. The novel shifts between the horrible conditions in psychiatric wards and the year 2137, as Connie at first talks to, then time travels with Luciente, a person from that future time. Luciente lives in a non-sexist, communal country where people's survival is ensured based on need, not money. A sense of freedom, choice, and safety are part of Luciente's world; Connie's world is the complete opposite. Though Connie struggles to stand up for herself and others in the treatment centers, she knows that the drugs she is forced to take weaken her in every way. She knows she shouldn't be there, knows how to play the game, and tells herself "You want to stop acting out. Speak up in Tuesday group therapy (but not too much and never about staff or how lousy this place was) and volunteer to clean up after the others." But she knows she is stuck. Connie spends more time "away" with Luciente, trying to develop a way out of her hell. Ultimately Connie makes her plan of action, and the book leaves us with our own questions about Connie's insanity and decisions. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Holly Smith
Connie Ramos, a woman in her mid-thirties, has been declared insane. But Connie is overwhelmingly sane, merely tuned to the future, and able to communicate with the year 2137. As her doctors persuade her to agree to an operation, Connie struggles to force herself to listen to the future and its lessons for today....
I've never heard of this author, but the premise of the book sounded interesting and I got more than I bargained for. I really enjoyed this book because it takes you between two different worlds, with the most seemingly unqualified person to carry such a load, such as deciding which direction our future could go. I will be sure to read more that this author has to offer.
I read this book first over 20 years ago in a 20th Century Literature class in college. It has remained anovel I remember, but not with great fondness. I am a feminist and a reader and an avid reader (and occasional critic) of science fiction. My first quibble with Piercy's text is that it felt as if, having decided to write a science fiction utopian novel, she also decided to read nothing of the genre she was throwing herself into. Therefore those portions of the novel that take place in the futuristic Utopia (and distopia), feel very "sophmoric." In Connie's longest extended stay with Luce, we get 2 pages on family life, and 2 pages on equality and 2 pages on reproduction, etc, etc. Luce leading Connie around and politley lecturing to the savage from the past. Piercy does not make her future perfect or her people in it perfect, but still, she is clunky and didactic when having the brave new world explained to the outsider. In other words, too much telling, not enough showing.
My other concern with the novel are the sacrfices she believes are required of both men and women in order to live in a gender neutral utopia. Not too offer to much of a spoiler on this front, let me just say that I am not against reproductive technoligies (check out Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series for a better use of exogenesis), but I feel that we should have the choice to decide whether to give birth ourselves or by artificial means. In Piercy's future world, children are brewed up anonymously in vats and assigned 3 unrelated people (men, women, whatever) to be "co-moms." Thus children are freed from problems that occur between their parents and freed from the, "you look just like my grandfather, etc, etc." I hope instead for a future that will broaden family and choices without such extreme denial of our biology and our sense of our own bodies.