Playing House

Playing House

by Fredrica Wagman

This nationally bestselling story of one womans struggle with the lasting effects of a childhood sexual relationship with her brother shocked American readers; it remains a literary work of enduring quality and value.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Uncategorized
  • Rating: 3.28
  • Pages: 176
  • Publish Date: May 6th 2008 by Steerforth
  • Isbn10: 1581952252
  • Isbn13: 9781581952254

What People Think about "Playing House"

Never named, giving the entire novel a hazy feel to it, perfectly reflecting the narrator's state of mind. Except Playing House touches an entirely new spectrum hardly understood in today's society (much less the sixties), taking something taboo and avoided and slapping it in the reader's faces, forcing them to look and see and hear what the narrator has to say, no matter how much we don't want to. This isn't to say that the entire novel is an expanded "The More You Know" segmant. In no way does the narrator show remorse for her relationship with her brother because he's her brother; it's her trying to find something like him, after they have grown and are unable to continue anything with each other and they must move on. She walks through life, feeling nothing, wanting him and missing him and thinking of him, hating him and loving him all at once to the point where her mind snaps like a rubber band stretched too far. The narrator feels nothing for anybody; not for her husband, her children, her mother, her dead sister. Playing House in one word: haunting. Utterly, completly haunting that will leave you sitting up at night and wondering how the hell something as disturbing as this novel could keep you reading until the very end. All I'll say is this; Playing House is a haunting, memorable novel that will endure the centuries to come, if not for the lovely prose then for the subject it deals with.

However, the mind of this woman and the subject matter are quite a bit darker. I am glad I read this book. However, if you can wrap your mind around the struggles this woman has and causes, you will enjoy the book.

You hear the child and the woman's voices interwoven throughout the story. I could feel the intense anger and the deep yearning for something that she could never get back. In telling the story, she never tries to. While one is tempted to make the brother the one villain, the whole dysfunctional family dynamic comes into play in this tale. And one senses that they are also victims with their own stories to tell.

This was not the type of book I would've picked up and read but the short description had caught my attention. The description of the book describes a girl growing up in a world of incest, bad relationships, and mental instability. It seemed as though every sentence was full of a description that would've described an entire chapter. I assumed from the description it would involve the main character's mental instability based on her familial and non-familial relationships in accordance with her own sexual relationship.

The book was an international best seller at the time, and has a forward by the award winning American author Phillip Roth as well as a readers guide at the end of the book for groups and discussions. the golden archer and the turtle Stockholm Syndrome where the abused over time empathizes with/loves the abuser All in all this novel is not one that most readers will like or even enjoy. It is a difficult, intense, and emotional read, dealing with subjects we would mostly likely choose to ignore, but one where the reader will be affected. I did not like this book but give it 4 stars because of its metaphorical connections, its intense emotional content, and its ability to make the reader feel some very difficult emotions.

As you read through the pages you see what goes through her mind and how her life just always revolves around her brother. You won't have that many problems reading this book it's almost lyrical and poetic if not for the haphazard thoughts the narrator goes through. As for the topic, I knew what I was getting myself into, but I didn't think it would be as bad as I thought it would be. Don't get me wrong it's not as if I don't like the book, in fact I thought it was interesting because of what goes through her mind and what the narrator does to go through her life always comparing everything to things she's done with her brother. One of the most psychologically draining books I have ever read up to this point. I really liked the narration though, despite its' content, Wagman made it sound lyrical and poetic at times and I thought it was a job well done.

I found that the madness of the main character was so intense that I could only read a few pages at a time. However, I was equally disturbed and fascinated by the tumultuous mind of the heroine and found that no matter whether I was reading or not, the book and the main character constantly haunted me.returnreturnreturnI warred between absolute horror at her relationship with her brother and wanting to enfold her in my arms and try to heal her. It punches you in the stomach with its simple need. The entire book was like that - simple statements that packed such an emotional punch that leave you gasping for breath, wanting to take a break but needing to continue to read.

The way that this book is written really makes the main character, the narrator, seem even more insane. I used to read a lot of V.C. Andrews' novels, and more often than not her books feature some kind of incest. Most of the time the characters in her books are usually being raped, or don't realize that they are sleeping with someone that is blood related. I wouldn't recommend this book to a lot of people. I would also highly recommend that religious people not pick up this book, as there is quite a lot of conversation toward a priest where the narrator continuously confesses her sins, and there are many.

This did not start out consensual but her longing for the closeness she experiences with her brother haunts her through her adult life. The book is written in first-person from the girls point-of-view as she is an adult. There is not a silver lining when it comes to the subject matter and Ms. Wagman treated it as such. Following is a short excerpt from Playing House: A Novel taken from Ms. Wagmans website (

I knew this book was going to be about incest, but boy I was not prepared for what I was about to read. I stopped a few times and didn't think I would be able to finish it even though its not even 200 pages. And this is where I stopped reading the second time. Took me three times of stopping to actually go back and finishing the book. I was feeling bad about thinking of what I was going to say about this book. Be prepared to be left with some images you might not like to have stuck in your brain.