I had heard about The Big Girls, by Susanna Moore, on Booking Mama last year. When I had gone to the outlets in PA, I saw it and grabbed it up. Our book club picked it for this month’s read, so I finally got around to reading it.
This book is about four inter-connected people: 1. a psychiatrist at a women’s prison, Dr. Forrest; 2. a prisoner at the prison, Helen; 3. Capt. Bradshaw, a guard there; and 4. Angie, a Hollywood actress. It is told alternating between the four people telling their story.
This book is quite disturbing. It is so honestly written that I shuddered several times as I read each person’s story. The book seemed to be written in a sort of stream on consciousness from each main character’s point of view. Sometimes this was a little confusing because some thoughts seem to start in the middle of a story somewhere. But, I found this writing style effective in telling these tales.
The book touches on mental illness, murder, abuse, sex, and relationships. It was difficult to read some of the content of this novel, but I’m glad I ploughed through. As a psychologist myself, I was fascinated by the dynamics in this book. The psychiatrist is analytical which always provides for some interesting conclusions and theories.
The relationships between the four people are interesting and quite dysfunctional. And, they don’t seem to improve as the story progresses. The ending of the book is a little surprising, at least to me. Life continues and you still wonder what will happen to these people.
I’ll be interested in how the other members of my book club will react to this book. We’re all mothers and think many of us will have had some difficulty with this novel. Although, I think it should make for a good discussion.