First thank you to FSB Associates for providing me with a review copy. I’ve read The Lie by the same author and although I couldn’t get used to it, it didn’t necessarily mean I didn’t like it. It was interesting but the writing style wasn’t something I was familiar with. I was a little hestitant about reviewing Playing House as I thought the writing style would be the same and perhaps a hard read as well.
Playing House is about a woman who’s had an incestious relationship with her brother when she was younger. At first, you’d think, she would struggle against this sort of thing. It’s obviously not normal and it’s certainly psychologically devestating. However, things starts to take a darker twist as she starts to accept this, and actually like it. As she grows older, and has different relationships with other men, she still has her mind on her brother and compares these men to her brother. As you read through the pages you see what goes through her mind and how her life just always revolves around her brother.
I knew it was going to be a hard topic to swallow. I read the synopsis before agreeing to review this book. Even though I was a little hesitant because Wagman’s writing style is very different. I was wrong. You won’t have that many problems reading this book it’s almost lyrical and poetic if not for the haphazard thoughts the narrator goes through. As for the topic, I knew what I was getting myself into, but I didn’t think it would be as bad as I thought it would be. There’s just parts that now stand out in my head and I can’t get it out and it just feels dirty. Don’t get me wrong it’s not as if I don’t like the book, in fact I thought it was interesting because of what goes through her mind and what the narrator does to go through her life always comparing everything to things she’s done with her brother. It’s just because of the topics you just feel almost dirty reading it. Perhaps Wagman had that in mind for her readers. I’m not sure.
I found it hard to sympathize with the narrator. She actually liked having sex with her brother and she wanted to be with him for the rest of her life. She starts taking a turn for the worse after her brother leaves and it’s just hard to like her. Her brother is just as bad, he’s cruel he’s horrible and everything about him is just wrong. You’d almost have to wonder if they’re both really meant for each other (even though they’re related) since he’s corrupted her and made her this way (at least, I think so).
The things I didn’t like about the book? the narrator’s thoughts are a little haphazard and all over the place. Also they blend in from the past, into present time so it’s a bit hard to follow. Otherwise, those that are a little sensitive to this kind of taboo content, it’s really not for you. There’s also some beastiality content so if you’re really not into any kind of sexual explicit material this is probably not the book for you.
Overall a very shocking book. One of the most psychologically draining books I have ever read up to this point. I really liked the narration though, despite its’ content, Wagman made it sound lyrical and poetic at times and I thought it was a job well done. It’s a short read (less than 200 pages) and although I don’t really recommend it, I wouldn’t say ignore it either as it’s something that should be read. It’s not everyday where you come across a book with taboo content but written well enough that it’s not trashy.
I give it a 6 out of 10.