by Kate Braverman
Seven Stories Press, 1979
Review by Courtney Young on Oct 31st 2002
It is truly
amazing for an author to write a novel inherently dark and depressing by
nature, yet so poetic and insightful that we at times feel a calm in its
balance. Kate Braverman presents a tale
in Lithium for Medea about a profoundly dysfunctional family, drug abuse,
death, and loveless sex as experienced by the main character Rose. We also get a glimpse into the ever tense
love-hate relationship between mothers and daughters; who when rebelling
against each other are only becoming more alike.
almost disturbing way Rose has the ability to keep parts of her life completely
separate from one another. She is
dealing with her fathers battle with cancer, but never tells her boyfriend
about the pain shes in or even that her father is sick. I thought of my father battling for his
life. Jason was staring at me. And I knew there could be no connection
between my parallel worlds. All was
ordered and mutually exclusive. The
pathways were as a surgeons incision.
The roads would never intersect, no matter the gravity, no matter the
pull into the dark center, the cruel underbelly where I lived and watched the
worlds churn while stars clawed my face, floors dissolved and nothing was
solid. How lonely.
this book there are abrupt shifts to moments in her childhood. The actions of her parents, and the events
that took place during that time clarify the present and forever resonate in
Roses head. Roses mother Francine is
clearly disturbed, but during these flashbacks we get glimpses of her being a
caring wife and loving mother.
Qualities that were drained from her the first time her husband battled
cancer. This novel takes place over the
course of a few months, but by the end it feels as if we have been traveling
with these characters over the course of years.
first meet Rose she is perhaps at one of the lowest points in her life. Heroin consumes her thoughts, and shooting a
needle in her arm has replaced any previously held goals or dreams. The major turning point in Francines life
came when her husband faced his first battle with cancer. Rose reaches hers when her father is
struggling against its recurrence. We
can all relate to these life altering situations. Rose decides she must change the path she has been essentially
losing herself in. Perhaps we can learn
something from her, and her awakening.
This book is written in a richly unique way and deserves attention.
© 2002 Courtney F. Young
Courtney Young recently graduated
from Dowling College, Long Island, NY majoring in Fine Arts and minoring in
Philosophy. While planning her next
step, she maintains her mental health by surfing.