*This post contains spoilers, don’t read if you haven’t finished yet.
Oh the Gown, where do I even start? This book touched me, and I cannot bring to words why. I found myself crying through the end of this book. The ending was absolutely beautiful. You get a strong dose of familial affection with Miriam, a twist of empowered woman in Ann and it all comes together with a touch of romance ala Heather and Daniel.
After all of the ends of this book we’re neatly tied up, I found myself thinking about Ann and Miriam’s lives. Really, I wish that I could sit down and have a conversation with each of them. If we lived in a magical world where we could converse with fictional characters here is what I would say:
Miriam, you overcame the loss of everything only to find a life so full of family, love and validation through your art work. The fact that a sole Holocaust survivor could go on to have a large tight nit family is beautiful. Not to mention your love with Walter. It was a love so strong it could not be stopped by death itself. This is all made poetic when coupled with the success of your art. You had your family brutally torn from you, but their story was not forgotten. Their memories were eternalized in your Valdeev.
Ann, the post war era is not known as a time of female empowerment. Yet, you are a feminist through and through. Your heart so yearned for a child that you stepped outside of cultural norms and had your daughter. You found a way to have what you wanted, a child and a career. Instead of being broken, you made a new life for yourself. You never envisioned a man for yourself and accordingly you did not allow societal norms to dictate how you lived. Instead you made a plan and found a way to live your life that was outside of the ridicule of others.
I understand that we all take different thing from books. What are your thoughts on Miriam and Ann’s stories, what struck you most?