Mouthing the Words

Mouthing the Words By turns harrowing and hilarious this adroitly narrated winner of the Toronto Book Award re creates the world in the imagination of Thelma It s a world in which she can escape some of her painful chi

  • Title: Mouthing the Words
  • Author: Camilla Gibb
  • ISBN: 9780434007967
  • Page: 149
  • Format: Hardcover
  • By turns harrowing and hilarious, this adroitly narrated winner of the Toronto Book Award re creates the world in the imagination of Thelma It s a world in which she can escape some of her painful childhood realities, like those games her father likes to make her play, where he s the boss and she the naughty secretary And her mother so fiercely favors her younger brBy turns harrowing and hilarious, this adroitly narrated winner of the Toronto Book Award re creates the world in the imagination of Thelma It s a world in which she can escape some of her painful childhood realities, like those games her father likes to make her play, where he s the boss and she the naughty secretary And her mother so fiercely favors her younger brother, the cherubic Willy, that Thelma finds herself perpetually in emotional exile No wonder Thelma asks practically every adult she meets to adopt her Along Thelma s bumpy way from a rural English village to Canada to a law degree at Oxford, she meets many potential parents and even makes some friends, but it is with the companions of her fertile imagination with the scaredy baby Janawee, moody and timid Ginniger, and big, strong, stoic Heroin that Thelma finds comfort With them, too, she loses an already tenuous connection to reality, though ultimately Thelma s spirit and humor prove to be as indomitable as her wit Moving and comic at once Hallucinatory, hilarious, and haunting Boston Globe Prickly, unsentimentala portrait of terrible comic humanity New York Times Book Review Mesmerizing Lush, visceral prose rings with an authority rarely found in first novels Washington Post Book World A novel of astonishing power An instantaneous classic Balti Sun Elegant sings with an almost Victorian delicacy and sophistication San Francisco Chronicle

    One thought on “Mouthing the Words”

    1. I finally found this book! I read it yeeears ago and I forgot the name of it and I've been searching for so long aahhh!! It's so memorable to me, it's dark and harrowing but I was so gripped by it and I need to buy it now!

    2. Sharp, witty & darkly humourous, this book is a fantastic read. I read it in a day & found the characters easy to relate to. The imagery is extremely realistic without being overpowering & is exceptionally delicate.

    3. From the look of this book, I was expecting casual young adult fiction, but it was neither a casual story nor YA lit. Relatively short, at only 238 pages, the novel was intense, serious with subtle touches of humor, and beautifully written. Gibb covers some intense subject matter, such as the sexual abuse and mental illness of the protagonist, and handles it adeptly — the protagonist’s emotional state is convincingly bleak, but without turning the novel into a suffocating wasteland.Some quot [...]

    4. Funny. I've had a couple of books that are taking me ages to read. But I found a copy of Camilla Gibb's Mouthing the Words in a crazy op shop on Redfern Street (for one dollar), was intrigued and finished it in two days. Published in 2002, at a time when I was paying attention to new voices in Canadian fiction, I remember hearing good things about the book so have been meaning to read it now for over a decade. I enjoyed it. The best thing about the book is Thelma, spiky and funny and traumatised [...]

    5. It took me a chapter or two to fully entangle myself in this book (more because of my personal head space than anything else, I think) but once I was in, I was in. Simultaneously tender and brutal, Mouthing the Words is perhaps one of the most resonant survivor journeys I have ever seen represented in the written form.I particularly appreciated the fragmented and darkly chaotic passages describing Thelma's experiences with her father and with her subsequent illness as a young woman. The style of [...]

    6. This book was excellent. It was original, intriguing and interesting, dealing with several difficult subjects without becoming too 'heavy' or feeling too tragic. This book isn't your average 'tragic life story' - it's more. It's easy to get lost inside Thelma's rather complex mind, explore her mental state and the thoughts that this brings her. It's not boring and although you may look back and think some of the things in the book are almost unbelievable, it feels completely realistic. The prota [...]

    7. Camilla Gibb is a favourite author of mine, whose books (such as "Sweetness in the Belly") have been powerful and beautifully written. This novel, "Mouthing the Words," Gibbs's first published book, shows much of the promise that these later works achieve. Thelma is a striking and strong female character, and her life is fraught with sexual abuse and mental instability. Her struggles to move through these experiences and find a secure harbour kept me engaged as a reader. They also conveyed convi [...]

    8. Più agevole da leggere all'inizio, quando vengono narrate le agghiaccianti premesse dell'infanzia violata della protagonista, con un tono che permette al lettore adulto di vedervi tutto quello che accade, più di quanto sia effettivamente scritto. Più arduo quando invece Thelma si ritrova a dover affrontare le battaglie, perdendole in gran parte, per cercare di ricomporre se stessa dai frammenti lasciati da un padre abominevole e da una madre distratta. Un po' per la narrazione stessa che si f [...]

    9. Had really enjoyed another one of hers, 'Sweetness in the Belly' but I'm wondering whether this is the same Camilla Gibb! The back cover blurb was appealing - life seen through the eyes of a child yet it was not an innocent regard. Very disturbing content and not at all a relaxing read.

    10. A powerful look at the far-reaching impact of childhood sexual abuse. Yes, it's dark, but it's often fiercely funny, too, thanks to the wonderfully honest narrator. Note: This novel may not be the ideal choice for every reader (it may be hugely triggering for some), so do bear that in mind.

    11. Gave up halfway through. I kept waiting for the 'hilarious' and 'harrowing' to begin, but it was just a mish-mash of nothing particularly interesting. I liked her other books, but this was a waste of time.

    12. As a reader I was able to become intimately involved with the charcter in this story and her struggle through mental illness. I laughed and cried with her, I felt her pain and ellationsry well written, flowing.

    13. I bought this book from a second-hand store in Paris. I'm French-Canadian but my French has become rusty over the years, so I've dedicated myself to reading more books in what is supposed to be my first language. And where better to start than Paris? But I can't really review this book. This is the first French title I read in eight years, so I don't yet feel qualified to comment on its translation due to my eroded French. It's not that I didn't get it, as I'm still quite fluent. It's just those [...]

    14. I liked this book a lot, even though the extended fantasies of the protagonist kind of took me out of the story, and seemed to drag on forever at parts. The subject of sexual abuse and mental sickness are very close to me, and I was surprised at the intensity of both. I felt like there was 100 different stories about the same person, all melded into one. I guess it kind of highlights all the different characters within the main character, her multiple personalities. It makes it very hard to revi [...]

    15. This is a rather harrowing account of a severely disturbed young woman with multiple personalities, depression, anorexia, hallucinations, difficulties making relationships, & attempted suicide, as a result of being sexually molested by her father as a very young child, without any affection or protection by her mother who is verbally abusive to her. I believe this is somewhat autobiographical.She manages, in spite of psychiatric treatment & psychotherapy, to ultimately connect to a "boyf [...]

    16. Thelma's story hurt me. Physically. I had a sharp pain in my midsection when I read about her torture at the hands of her father. He was a monster. But her mother was the Karla Homolka of the story, without being formally acknowledged as such.It is no wonder that Thelma went off the rails. Convincingly, unsurprisingly, and luckily for me, as a reader, she also survived and rediscovered life, from a new perspective. The help, both professional and personal, she had recovering lightened the dark h [...]

    17. Kind of a fantastic exploration of a young woman's mental state, while growing up through early adulthood, as a result of her father's sexual abuse. On the one hand, she's quite self-aware, but at the same time she has a lot of denial about what, exactly, happens to her in the outside world. And it never really struck me as contrived. I have always taken comfort in thoughts like these, all the childlike thoughts you have to make sense of your place in the world. In the thought that the real you [...]

    18. I read this book five years ago and though I thought it was okay back then, it's one of those books that's really stuck with me over the years and I wish more people would read it. Basically, it is the story a Thelma, a young girl from a dysfunctional home who is emotionally neglected by her mother and sexually abused by her father. In order to cope she invents personalities, imaginary friends, though later descends into anorexia, self-mutilation, etc. The tale is told, believe it or not, with h [...]

    19. Super quick page-turner about a girl named Thelma who survives child abuse (from her father sexually and from her mother emotional and physical neglect) and subsequently her own psychosis; and yet she manages to achieve spectacularly. I fell in love with Thelma at the beginning, and rooted for her so hard it felt like sharing in her triumph. All the characters (even the imaginary ones) are colorfully presented, and humorously described, and writer Camilla Gibb does a winsome job entertaining the [...]

    20. This is a first novel and it really shows. The protagonist goes from being a disturbed sexually abused child with imaginary friends in England, to a disturbed Canadian teen with eating disorders, to a crazed Oxford student. I could not really relate to her. I also found her mother a complete pain in the butt, her British lover a wuss, her father a complete ass who should have been in jail, and the book boring and repetitive. There are a few good descriptions of the family next door, and some str [...]

    21. It might seem strange to use an adjective like "beautiful" in describing " Mouthing the Words". After all the subject matter of child abuse and subsequent melt-down is hardly the stuff of beauty. Yet it is the word that comes to mind when I consider Camilla Gibbs' book. This is a beautifully crafted study of the consequences of abuse as told by the main character, Thelma. What is so appealing about this book is its human touch. It never strays form the personal experience of Thelma and therein l [...]

    22. This book offers an inside preview into the life of a girl who is abused by her Father and who in her own way wants to get over the fact that things are not right and she wants to make a meaning out of her life.I was disturbed and most of the times felt uncomfortable reading this book because it just didn't feel right for a child to endure so much- but then such things do happen and Camilla Gibb uses words to show how awful such things are and also how one can rise above them.

    23. This is the story of Thelma, an English girl who is mentally abused by both parents and sexually abused by her father. Told in the first person, the book shows how Thelma copes with the cruelties of her childhood and how this affects her later in life. Sometimes tragic, sometimes quirky, this is a touching book about coping with a terrible childhood and the scars it can cause. I didn't know what to expect with this book, but I thought it was well written and engaging.

    24. A clever and compelling read. An insightful and compassionate story of a Thelma, whose real and imaginary worlds are totally blurred. It deals sensitively with abuse and mental disorder and anorexia, and Gibb makes you really care about the welfare of this tortured girl. She doesn't wrap everything up neatly but leaves you with a sense of calm in spite of the harrowing experiences Thelma has survived.

    25. This book was excellent. It was intense, serious with a few touches of humor, and beautifully written. Ms. Gibb covers difficult subjects without becoming too heavy or feeling too tragic. I finished it in a few days and found myself chuckling at some points and heartbroken at some points. Ms. Gibb manages to hold your emotion and humour despite all of the subjects, including homosexuality, suicide, abuse and mental illness. I would definitely recommend this book.

    26. This is one of the best books I have ever read from a childs point of view. We move through the protagonists stellar and quite imagination, her absences, her reworkings of reality as she tries to cope with the horror of familyThough I read it so long ago it has always held me. Check out anything else by Gibb.The Petty Details of So and So's Life is also great especially for capturing a complex and heart full brother and sister relationship.

    27. I found it hard to get use to the writer's style. I had to go back and reread things at first until I caught her rhythm. Also, there were a few times when I wasn't sure if things actually happened or were just a part of the characters psychosis. The book started off stronger than it ended. Her childhood was interesting, but her mental illness got a bit to out-there for me in the last half. I'll have to find you a good review to post since I can't seem to do it justice

    28. This book was breathtaking, and written so poetically. But at the same time it was frightening because I completely identified it. The only thing that irritated me was how it just suddenly stopped, but I guess it was the right ending, because that's how life is. There are never any happy endings. Just endings.

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