Book Review: Two Women by Christene A. Brown

I had requested a copy of this book from NetGalley a long time ago and received it half-a-long-time ago. When I decided to read it, I didn’t remember what it was about Two Women that drew me in. Was it that the title had ‘women’ in it? Was it that, for a change, the story was ALL about women? Was it the cover that pulled me in? Whatever it was, I was glad I forgot because then, I could be surprised if I liked it. Or if I didn’t.

Bernice Archer raises two blind, middle-aged daughters, Eva and Ava. It is their tradition that she tells them stories spun out of imagination and inspiration. She has always told them that bowel movements are better than anything that men could make a woman feel. Is this a façade to save her daughters from the truth about their father? Or is she just trying to protect her daughters from the world?

One day, on her return from errands, she runs into two of her neighbors who inspire her stories of Violet and Rose – both of whose mothers had the same notion of woman’s submission to man. But Violet and Rose, Bernice discovers, are made of stronger stuff than their mothers. What follows is how Bernice and her daughters help Violet and Rose discover more than just their dreams.

Now that I am done reading Two Women, it feels like I’m not sure what I think and feel about the book. Sure, there were a few points where I was angered, a few points where I was sad, rare points that made me happy, and quite a few that annoyed me. And during the entirety of the book, I was in a bad state of mind. It annoyed me somewhat. Not in the Why am I reading this? sort, but in the Why do such truths have to be stated right now? way.

While the story of domestic abuse interlinked with soul connections is quite touching in hindsight, it didn’t work for me as much as I would have hoped it would. When you start off with blurred timelines that confuse the reader in the first few pages, one cannot be sure how it is going to go.

The story of Two Women is captivating up to a point. But then, it becomes repetitive. It takes away from the impact of telling a story of abuse and neglect. All you do in the end is groan and say, ‘Oh no! Not again!’ It annoys to see that they aren’t standing up to the atrocities.

Coming to Eva and Ava. They are 53-year-old twins. Blind, I agree, but for the entirety of the book, they act like hormonal teenage girls. I would understand where the hormones come from, because they have never been with a man before. But using that to overshadow what could have been a more impactful character pair is not fair, in my opinion. Eva and Ava could have been so much more than just blind twins.

In the end, though I sympathize with Violet and Rose and quite like their character arcs, there is not much else I like about it. The language and writing style are good, and the few spelling mistakes can be ignored. But overall, it didn’t much work for me. However, I still feel that this book should reach a wider audience just to show how people can change colors with their situations. It isn’t right most of the time, but it is what it is.

All in all, I’d say for Two Women, read it, but without any expectations. And then maybe, you’ll like it.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: Goodreads.

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