It’s that kind of books that leaves you with many intricate questions. The kind of questions which provoke you to look for an answer inside you. “What I would do in Viola’s place…?”; “Why did she behave like this?”; “Why did she make this decision…?” And so on…
This book is like a long journey in which nothing goes the way you expect. You feel lost. You want your answers. But the only thing you can do is to keep going. This existential anxiety that book evokes is, in my opinion, one of the big achievements of this book.
Another achievement is the creation of the main character – Viola. I imagine that most of readers – like me – were irritated and angry at her so many times. We got so involved in her story, her life, that we really wanted her to find some solutions!
If only it would be that easy… Her life is a mess and for the reader it is hard to bear it that way. We do not know how it happened, but suddenly we realized that we are inside the book’s reality, engaged with Viola’s problems, as if they were ours. That’s how this book gives us a real experience and as every experience it is sometimes painful, sometimes helps us to discover something new and important, sometimes it confronts us, and rarely gives us relief.
What is it that the book shows? What topics does it touch upon? What was for me very authentic and powerful was in what manner Viola behaved – her limitations, the structure of her personality. All the time she is struggling with herself. She tries to break through this (through her mother’s expectations, through memories of her son, through fears connected to her boyfriend Ronny) but instead of this, she is reproducing her destructive patterns, she is doing what she feels she has to do. Strong inner compulsion and conflict.
I see it as a strong image of a human being who is so much imprisoned in his or her defending mechanisms but still trying to find a place for free choices. To change something. To behave in a different way. And he/she is failing, but each time trying again….
The last thing I would like to stress: subject of women and motherhood.
In the book the main issue is the relationship between women and a child: Can women be fulfilled without a child? Can a mother give space to a child, to be separate? In Viola’s life mother’s love is controlling and ambivalent: mother attracts the child and then she pushes it away. Viola can never be herself, be accepted by her mother. At the same time nearly the only thing she desires is to be a mother. And she is not thinking about the relationship with the child she would be able to have. No, the child is simply an object of desire and as an object it has to be given to her. World created by Viola – in which no genuine relationship is possible – is really scary. It shows how people brought up in some structures try to liberate themselves, but they can never succeed. Their struggle is however an important one and worth seeing. In a way every one of us has this kind of life path. This book is about this struggle.
Sonia R., Amazon reviewer about the novel – A child made to order