Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln by Janis Cooke Newman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A fictional memoir written in the name of Mary Todd Lincoln while she was a "resident" of an insane asylum near Batavia, Illinois.
Mary takes us on her life's journey from early childhood and the death of her mother in childbirth, through the events leading up to her son Robert's decision to commit her. Ms. Newman has Mary describe symptoms that sound (to me, a non-expert) as post-traumatic stress, perhaps with bipolar disorder. While I'm not sure how much of what she describes actually happened, she does make it plain how frustrating and limiting the life of a woman living in Victorian American society could be.
I think it's well-written overall, Mary's voice is consistent throughout and the language sounds true to the time. It's also a very engaging story. It really does seem like I'm reading someone else's diary. I would love an annotated copy that references real and fictional or conjectured passages and gives a historical basis for them.
I read this for my 3rd 101 Things in 1001 Days, based on a recommendation by The Gal Herself.
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