This classic, the Color Purple by Alice Walker, is available as all the other books at Chapters Bookstore on Parnell Street. We are very thankful for their cooperation with the 16 Days of Action and I hope that our blog readers have been able to enjoy the recommendations and reads as well. You can keep the poster for future reference and of course pass it on to your contacts as well.
The Color Purple – Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister,” a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister’s letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.
Day 15: We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates (1996)
Elegiac and urgent in tone, Oates’s wrenching 26th novel (after Zombie) is a profound and darkly realistic chronicle of one family’s hubristic heyday and its fall from grace. The wealthy, socially elite Mulvaneys live on historic High Point Farm, near the small upstate town of Mt. Ephraim, N.Y. Before the act of violence that forever destroys it, an idyllic incandescence bathes life on the farm. Hard-working and proud, Michael Mulvaney owns a successful roofing company. His wife, Corinne, who makes a halfhearted attempt at running an antique business, adores her husband and four children, feeling “privileged by God.” Narrator Judd looks up to his older brothers, athletic Mike Jr. (“Mule”) and intellectual Patrick (“Pinch”), and his sister, radiant Marianne, a popular cheerleader who is 17 in 1976 when she is raped by a classmate after a prom. Though the incident is hushed up, everyone in the family becomes a casualty. Guilty and shamed by his reaction to his daughter’s defilement, Mike Sr. can’t bear to look at Marianne, and she is banished from her home, sent to live with a distant relative. The family begins to disintegrate. Mike loses his business and, later, the homestead. The boys and Corinne register their frustration and sadness in different, destructive ways. Valiant, tainted Marianne runs from love and commitment. More than a decade later, there is a surprising denouement, in which Oates accommodates a guardedly optimistic vision of the future. Each family member is complexly rendered and seen against the background of social and cultural conditioning. As with much of Oates’s work, the prose is sometimes prolix, but the very rush of narrative, in which flashbacks capture the same urgency of tone as the present, gives this moving tale its emotional power. 75,000 first printing; author tour. –Publishers Weekly
Speaking in the Seanad yesterday, Senator Ivana Bacik called for an urgent debate on domestic violence and rape law, saying:
“As we near the end of the Women’s Aid ‘16 Days’ campaign highlighting the incidence of domestic violence, I think we need an urgent debate in this House to discuss the inadequacies in our legislation for protections for victims of domestic violence. We also need to discuss how best to prevent the incidence of such violence.”
Commending the Rape Crisis Network of Ireland for their conference on rape law held Monday 7th December, Senator Bacik said:
“The study launched yesterday and carried out by Conor Hanly and his team from NUI Galway has made the shocking finding that only one third of rape cases reported to the Gardai lead to the taking of criminal prosecutions by the DPP. The study also found that a narrow stereotype of rape victims may be a factor in the low numbers of rape cases proceeding to trial. We need to look at our rape laws, and our prosecution and trial processes generally, to see how to ensure that more complaints of rape are prosecuted within the criminal justice system.”
As the 16 Days Campaign draws to a close, there are still plenty of interesting events taking place:
Women’s Aid Events:
- 16 Facts for 16 Days email campaign (email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01-8684721 to sign up)
- 16 Books for 16 Days in Chapters
- Women’s Aid Public Awareness Campaign
- Women’s Aid Online Advertising Campaign
- Women’s Aid ‘Support a Friend’ Phone Charm Campaign
Events Around Ireland:
- Violence Against Women 365 International Poster Exhibition continues in Waterford
- Displays at various venues around Mayo
- Human Rights in Ireland continue their 16 Days Campaign daily blog
- “In Her Shoes” exhibition in Longford, and also in the Mid-West
- Information Stands are placed around Sligo and Leitrim
- Aoibhneas Refuge urges all of us to “Step Out of the Shadows”
- Clare Women’s Network is running a powerful daily poster campaign
- Galway Rape Crisis Network is running a daily fact campaign
- Donegal has a poetry and art display
- Take Back the Tech continue their fabulous campaign with daily actions that are available to everyone! (www.takebackthetech.net)
- Kenya North Rift Women Voices training events in Kenya
- FemLINKpacific Community Radio Broadcasts in the Figi Islands
GLOW, Ireland’s No.1 Health and Lifestyle Magazine have included an excellent four page special feature on domestic violence in the December/January edition, now in all good newsagents.
The article explores the impact of the recession on women living with domestic violence and steps to guard against financial abuse. The article goes on to look at how we can help a friend who is experiencing domestic violence.
The article finished with an outline of how Women’s Aid can help women who are being abused as well as ways readers can support the 16 Days of Action Campaign.
Pick up your copy today.
The Woman who walked into Doors by Roddy Doyle
A skillful mixture of buoyant farce and wrenching drama from the popular Irish author (The Commitments, 1987; Bookerwinner Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, 1993, etc.). Doyle’s protagonist and narrator, Paula Spencer, will remind readers of the hilariously feisty, foulmouthed women of his earlier books. Indeed, Paula’s a match for any of them as she recalls episodes from her experiences as competitive sibling and worldly- wise schoolgirl, moonstruck young wife, and, finally, embattled mother. And the core of her adult life is her terrified relationship with abusive husband Charlo, a charismatic monster whose unpredictable swings between tenderness and violence keep the hopeful Paula in a constant state of submissive confusion. (“He loved me and he beat me. I loved him and I took it. It’s as simple as that, and as stupid and complicated.”) Charlo’s uncontrollable thuggishness eventually removes him from her life for good, but that isn’t the end of her trouble. Doyle’s masterly use of jabbing, staccato sentences and emotional repetitions produces a nervous intensity that exactly reproduces how his heroine–and she is that, no other word will do–lives out her imperilled days. The novel is filled with sharply observed, amusingly distinctive characters, including even Paula’s young children. Hardly any other writer alive can create families and neighborhoods full of mutually involved people with such easy authority. And nobody alive uses filthy language with such exuberant expressive virtuosity. Only in the closing pages, when Doyle’s empathy with his character’s plight takes on some of the righteous quality of a case study, does the grip falter. Even so, few readers will be able to look away even for a moment. Some may object that Doyle, having perfected a winning formula, is merely writing the same raucous story of small-town Irish life over and over. Well, let them. It’s a bloody wonderful story. –Kirkus Reviews
Know this classic? Pick up the sequel, Paula Spencer.