I’m obviously out of practice and a bit behind on my reviews. I read Use Me a few weeks ago and it was very engaging. Schappel highlights ten major events in Evie Wakefield’s life, mostly focusing on her complicated relationship with her father, through a series of short stories.
Her relationship with her father was particularly interesting. The book starts when she’s a young girl, who absolutely worships her father. As he cheats cancer year after year, she almost becomes more obsessed with his status as a god-like figure in her life. He seems immortal, his personality is larger than life and women tend to respond to him with devotion.
While Evie is blind to her fathers small, but obvious flaws, we see then. We see her father’s flaws – in the way he hides his cancer, he breaches Evie’s trust, breaches her mother’s trust, in the way his ego and his own mythology gets in his way. But even when Evie sees the cracks in the facade of her relationship with her father, she still fights violently to turn a blind eye to his imperfections.
And who can blame her? No one wants to see their parents as flawed. Or unable to protect them. Or anything but immortal. We want our parents to be superheroes. Many books have been written based on the family suffering in a child’s life. Books based on divorce, abuse, marital conflict, emotionally distant parents, etc provide great fodder for a compelling story that sets up the parents as shaping their children for better or worse.