Let me begin by saying that this is a simple story told in a mesmerizing fashion. I loved every minute of it. I found the protagonist relatable and interesting, her preoccupation with the wallpaper pulled me in and then held me in that room with her. At under 100 pages, this story was perfect in a rare way. It never felt like it was dragging on but no aspect of the story was dismissed or glossed over.
This is actually one of my Read Harder books and would have qualified for a protagonist with mental illness and probably historical fiction as well as with the page count. I don’t think I would have found it had I not been looking for books for the challenge, which makes me that much happier to have decided to do it.
I had no idea when I chose it that this was actually a feminist story told by a prominent nineteenth century feminist. When I discovered that, I went ahead and listened to it again. There are some definite feminist moments and admissions. That her husband makes all these decisions without her consent and without even asking her what she wants is indicative of the issues it sought to address. It could be said to have been allegorical to the oppression that women were suffering at the time. Aside from the possible allegory, the protagonist has a real problem. The reason our protagonist is even in that room is particular to women and one that is still often treated in the US today. Fortunately, today’s treatments seem to work better than those of Gilman’s time. They are at least more humane than being locked up in a sanitarium, which is the likely fate that our protagonist was to endure since she continued to decline from what sounds like post-partum depression from the inadequacy of her treatment.
Altogether, this was a great little book that tells relays a lot more about the struggles of women in it’s time than what the wallpaper looked like.