Monday, September 7, 2009

Review: Playing House: A Novel by Fredrica Wagman

Recommended for: people with a very open mind and those that like controversy

Teaser quote:
But what does all right mean? What is this thing all right? I don't understand.

I see the world as an empty place alone and that I've been cut in half, always searching, always looking for something and never finding it. I've come close a lot of times but then it's nothing again, it always turns into nothing but the search.
(pg 42, ISBN 978-1-58195-225-4)

My rating: 3/5

My thoughts:

Throughout our lives, one hopes to find that special person: you understood each other completely, they hold your head when your sick, bring you flowers and leave gifts for no reason, comfort you and tell you no one can harm you as long as they're around. But what happens when the love of your life is your flesh and blood brother?

Playing House is a deeply disturbing story narrated by a traumatized woman. She can't live her life without longing to be with the one person she can't have, her brother. Starting at the age of nine, the sexual relationship with her brother robbed her of her childhood and ultimately a normal life. Life is but a blur and although she later marries, he is a stranger that sleeps beside her at night. He was a good man who tried to rescue her but with each attempt, he pushes her further and further away. Nothing could fix her, she is broken and too far gone.

The foreword by Philip Roth had my stomach in knots. I must admit that parts of the book I had to skim over as they were way too disturbing and I couldn't bring myself to read them. You know you've just read a powerful book when at the end, you're left feeling exhausted.

other reviews on Playing House worth checking out:


  1. I too had to read parts peeking through my fingers. Definitely not for the squeamish! Great review! You can see mine at

  2. Good review! I like how you wrote what you liked and didn't but sort of allow the reader to make that decision on their own too. I have this book to read but I'm a little scared!

  3. booktumbling ~ I'm still in shock..I think, lol. I've linked your review in my post :)

    Jenny ~ I was nervous about this one've been warned, lol. I'd love to read your review :)

  4. This looks good, in a sick sort of way. I think I'll add it to my TBR.


  5. Andrea ~ I'd love to read your thoughts on it after :) I'm now following ya (no pressure, lol, just kidding!)

  6. I've just started it, powerful but yes not for the squeamish. I may finish it this weekend

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  8. Deb ~ you are a brave woman! I can't wait to read your review :)