Day 5’s recommendation is ‘The Longings of Women’ by Marge Piercy. I’ll be honest and say I read this one so long ago, much of it is a blur. But I do remember that it gave me a new face for homelessness (though it covered many other themes, through the eyes of women), and that it almost always comes to mind when I think about books that stayed with me. I also remember it being incredibly moving. I think I’ll read it again soon, but for now, even despite my limited memory of it, I feel confident recommending it to you.
This recommendation is, like the previous one, about a difficult subject — this time, abusive relationships. I remember this book changing my mind. ‘Changing your mind’ is one of the most important things that books do in my opinion. And ‘Strange Fits of Passion’ by Anita Shreve changed the way I looked at domestic violence. Before I read it, I thought it was pretty cut-and-dry … If someone hits you, it should become immediately apparent to you that they don’t like or love you, and you should leave. But people and relationships are more complicated than that, and one’s sense of self-worth, and one’s perception of the other person and of the nature of love itself can become warped over time when you’re in an abusive relationship. And finally, sometimes the external trappings of success act as the perfect mask for a violent, brutal and dangerous situation for women. This book helped teach me those things, so I recommend it.