In the Dream House – Carmen Maria Machado

“If your heart is a volcano how shall you expect flowers to bloom in your hands?”

At its core in the Dream House is a story about an abusive relationship, but in-depth it is so much more than that. This is a memoir, and the way the author constructed this story is fascinating to me. Told in short chapters start to follow a common name being” the Dream House as…” the author constructs a way of not only telling us about her personal experience, since this is a memoir after all but also finds a place to discuss abusive relationships in the queer Community more specifically within lesbian relationships. The way she metaphorizes this place, the dream house, as a setting for the story that she wants to tell, as a place that is more than just a physical place but a place in our minds that haunts us, is just incredible. I was totally hooked and obsessed with this concept from the start.

“The memoir is, at its core, an act of resurrection.”

What this book does is that it becomes a sort of a source text in the research of materials discussing this topic and that is really really fascinating to read, I found it so enlightening and instructing. She also utilizes definitions and concepts from etymology, literature and so much more as a way to explain concepts and give them meaning through the actions happening in her retelling. It was such a genius way to write nonfiction that it left me speechless.

I really loved Carmen Maria Machado writing not for me was really enthralling and addictive, despite its heavy subject this book was easily devourable to me.

I loved the construction of the relationship between the two women, and how little by little, piece by piece oh, the configurations of the abusive relationship start to show up. It is incredibly done because this abuse does not involve physical violence but that does not mean it is not traumatic or painful. I was really scared for the narrator a lot of times.

One of my particular favorite moments for me was the topic discussing queerness and villainy I will even insert the quote here because I need to look back into this review and be able to read it again.

“There is a question of representation tied up in the anguish around the queer villain; when so few gay characters appear on-screen, their disproportionate villainy is-obviously-suspect. It tells a single story, to paraphrase Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and creates real-life associations of evil and depravity. It is not incorrect to tell an artist that there is responsibility tangled up in whom you choose to make a villain, but it is also not a simple matter.

As it turns out, queer villains become far more interesting among other gay characters, both within the specific project or universe and the zeitgeist at large. They become one star in a larger constellation; they are put in context. And that’s pretty exciting, even liberating; by expanding representation, we give space to queers to be – as characters, as real people – human beings. They don’t have to be metaphors for wickedness and depravity or icons of conformity and docility. They can be what they are. We deserve to have our wrongdoing represented as much as our heroism because when we refused wrongdoing as a possibility for a group of people, we refused their humanity.”

At first, I didn’t know why all these people were talking about this book and then I saw it was a memoir and I was confused as to how we could be so interesting to read but now that I read it I understand the hype and I’m more than I agree with it. Everyone should read this book. Not only because it is a great book and incredibly written too, but even if just to learn about the subject and see how difficult and how hard it is to be the oppressive side in abusive relations.

This book became a favorite for life and I will be reading anything else this author writes from this point on, I’m a fan.

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