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Getting Rid of It by Lindsey Collen
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Getting Rid of It (1997)

by Lindsey Collen

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The story takes place, in real time, over a single day, as three young women (all of them marginalized, poor, homeless, the cast-offs of Mauritian society) try to find a way to dispose of the corpse of a dead baby. They didn't kill the baby -- it was a late miscarriage -- but they are quite justly afraid they will be accused of illegal abortion if they take it to the authorities. So they are trying to get rid of this tiny, sad package wrapped in plastic bags, so no one will ever know.

It would have been a good story but it seems Lindsey Collen was more interested in putting forth statements about the problems and inequalities in Mauritian society, particularly for the women, and she did this at the expense of a believable plotline. For example, each of the women had female employers who committed suicide due to repression by men, a coincidence which severely strains the reader's ability to suspend disbelief. And one of the women managed to get pregnant twice before she even had her first period, and it never says how -- one minute she was washing off her brother's pet dog, and the next she was delivering a stillborn baby, which left me wondering if the word "dog" was actually a euphemism for something else. (I still can't figure that one out.) Then she went to live in the woods and soon had another baby, without any man being mentioned in the story.

I really didn't like this very much. The writing style was very confusing and there was too much going on. ( )
  meggyweg | Aug 2, 2010 |
Getting Rid of It follows the stories of Sadna, Jumila and Goldilox during a single day. The three friends are trying to dispose of Jumila's stillborn foetus, which she has in a plastic bag. They are afraid to got to the authorities, fearing that they will be accused of illegaly aborting the pregnancy, and instead look for an appropriate way to get rid of the foetus. The three are 'invisibles': poor, menially employed and, worse than both of these in the patriachal Mauritian society, women. Their travels with the foetus provides a backdrop for a harsh examination of the role of poor women in Mauritius, documenting a system that condones abuse and fails to provide any official support.
I liked the subject matter enough to get into this book, but it was in spite of Collen's writing, rather than because of it. She writes prose as if she would rather be writing poetry, with short, staccato sentences full of nice words and aliteration but devoid of meaning. In places it is almost like a sort of stream of conciousness word association game. All very pretty, but not conducive to reading. Its effect on me was equivalent to an optical illusion, where jarring lines and funny perspective creates a picture that you just can't seem to focus on. I found myself trying desperately to follow the narrative through the jungle of words. I usually enjoy ornate prose, but this was ornate for its own sake, and really got in the way of the book.
2 vote GlebtheDancer | Apr 14, 2008 |
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Jumila, Sadna and Goldilox Soo have big plans. They are sick to death of being the sitting ducks of history. But first they have a problem to deal with, Jumila's problem, contained for now within several plastic bags, but threatening to leak out at any moment and send them all to prison.… (more)

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