Zakaria Mohamed Mohamed de Choma, Zambia
éclater de rire trash amusant!
I didn't find this book to be very enlightening. Everything she shared in the book, seemed liked common sense to me.
In Black Milk, Elif Shafak tells her readers about her postpartum depression following the birth of her first child. I think it to be a very sensitive subject to approach. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to open up and tell your insecurities about being a mother to the rest of the world. Especially, when most of the world still assumes that if you are a woman, you will be a mother at some point. That is after all what you were made for, weren't you? Whoever said "one is not born a woman, one becomes one" really didn't what they were was talking about! But Black Milk is not just an intimate account of the author's experience before, during and after her pregnancy, it's also a wonderful insight into the lives of female writers throughout the ages and how, each in their own way, tried to resolve this dilemma posed by motherhood. In Black Milk, you will read about the lives and works of Sylvia Plath, Zelda Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Ayn Rand, Anais Rand, Doris Lessing, Lou Andreas Salomé, Rebecca West, Audre Lorde, Sandra Cisneros, George Eliot, Toshiko Tamura, Yuko Tsushima, Carson McCullers, to quote but a few. In that aspect, I found the book to be a great introduction to feminist criticism and literature. I've compiled quite a list of female writers that I need to get to. Elif Shafak interweaves her personal experience with that of these writers of the past and present to try and comprehend the notions of womanhood, motherhood and how they can be balanced with the life of a writer. I'm no writer, but I know these questions hit home and so, her approach has more to do with personal space and the need to continuously grow as a human being, than simply the activity of writing. All mothers will at least agree on this, having a child changes everything, for better or for worse. And so, at some point in your life, are you supposed to simply stop being you to become a mother, entirely dedicated to childrearing? Can you ever get back what you lost (I'm aware that motherhood is not without its rewards, but come on, you have to at least sometimes reflect nostalgically on the moments when you could sleep late and step out of the house on a whim with nothing but your purse). How do you balance the needs of a little one, entirely dependent on you, with your own needs? And does the fact that I'm worrying about this means that I will be a bad mother? These are questions I've been asking myself for quite some time and even more so now that most of my friends are getting married and having children of their own and I don't feel ready for that. And it's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one! I was amazed at the extent to which I could relate to Elif Shafak's experience. It's true that, at first glance, apart from being born in the same city 14 years apart and having traveled quite a bit from an early age, our lives don't have much in common. And yet, I could completely relate. I've always been one who enjoyed solitude and never get bored when I'm left to my own devices. I think it's a good thing my parents had a second child after me, otherwise I fear I might have felt even more alien than I do now! I'm too often caught up in my own little world and never seem to be on the same page as everyone else. One has to be very precise and specific when addressing me, if there's any ambiguity, consequences may be tragic. For that reason, I'm really bad at getting jokes. When everyone will understand Meaning A and see that there's also a Meaning B which makes the joke a joke, I will find a Meaning C without having understood A or B. Yes, it's that bad. Dating and living with someone that's very practical, down-to-earth and logical in everything that he does (my complete opposite) has been very enlightening in that respect. And it's the source of daily miscommunication and misunderstandings that while most of the time are funny, can also offend or hurt people when I don't really mean to. In brief, I am socially retarded! How can I ever possibly be a good mother?! I sincerely fear for the child. And to get back to Black Milk, it's something Elif Shafak asked herself and part of the reason behind her postpartum depression was because she didn't feel that she would be up to the task. She feared that she would lose herself, her writing, her career, her intellect and not even manage to be a good mother in return. One thing that bewilders me in our society is how when you are young, people encourage you to complete long studies, during which you read in vast quantities, discuss, debate and write about a variety of issues, only to find a job that is mostly admin and repetitive (as most jobs are) and expect you to be happy about i!. I stayed in university for seven years and while I wasn't quite sure why I was there the first three, my master's degree changed everything. It gave me a chance to formulate questions about identity, race and gender that I had carried with me for years but didn't have the tools to express. I know a lot of people remember their university years as parties and getting pissed, I did do that, but it also felt like my brain was buzzing, like I was being intellectually challenged on a daily basis, because I had the time and luxury to think. Let's face it, when you come home from work, you're not going to sit down and read philosophy (well at least my brain can't process much at the end of the day!). You merely switch on your TV and let others do the thinking for you. It's sad to realize at 25 that your best days are behind you and that you will never have that freedom of thought back. It's simply not compatible with society as it is. I've been thinking that working part-time is probably more suited to my personal needs, but besides the financial impossibility of that, there's also the pressure that I need to have a career and that working part-time will leave me an assistant ten years from now! Imagine, adding a child into the mix! When will I find the time to read, blog, think and live inside my little bubble? (But then, ten years ago if you'd told me that I would be in a stable relationship and sharing a flat with roommates, I wouldn't have believed you!) If Elif Shafak seems to have resolved these issues, I've yet to. It's fascinating to see the author's fragmented selves argue and lash at one another and finally come to some sort of a peaceful understanding, at least for a little while. I know this is a bit of a weird review, it's a very subjective and personal reaction to this book, but that's what it triggered in me. It does not read like non-fiction at all. It's both a powerful and emotional account of a woman's journey into motherhood and a writer's historical analysis of the lives of female writers of the past. I can't recommend it enough.