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Day 10

W-3 by Bette Howland

Chapter 8 (p. 146–163, to end)

October 28, 2022 by Lynn Steger Strong

Halloween is here! Time has passed and Bette is helping with preparations, but this is also a chapter about variation, difference, and extremes: Bette is lucky enough to get letters, to have photos, "My sons were my home." The image of Yvette:

    Her eyes were like slashes; she was very big and strong. She walked on her toes. She'd come up and press herself against you... It was not possible to distinguish between her moods of murder and affection, and I don't suppose she could either.

    Watch Georgia: how Howland threads her many complications together so wrenchingly: her music as intrusion, her SNIP, SNIP-ing as ritual she's learned, then her beauty, "a gift like any other"; her specific pain; then back to yanking at her yarn:

      At nineteen already divorced; her baby daughter dead of lead poisoning; victim of gang rape, involving among other things numerous court appearances... She dragged the rug around with her everywhere... made it seem angry, bloody work.

      Most of all though this is Trudy's chapter: the possibility of her transfer, the interview (!), her ignominious return: what is it for the ward that she is deemed too sane for Idlewild? How does it shift the group's conception of its madness? Of what W-3 both can and cannot hold?

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