Friday, April 17, 2015

   


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Stephanie Carroll has given us a truly amazing gift and I can't wait to see this one as a movie. A brilliant debut novel and I look forward to reading more of her writing. Thank you for a beautifully crafted tale. - Amazon UK Review

A White Room Made No. 1!!!

I totally loved this book. It's been described as being similar to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, ... Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Though I concur that all that is true, I go further by being reminded of why the gothic writing work and home remind me of Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables ... and some of the works of V.C. Andrews, such as Flowers in the Attic. She gives us a gothic feel reminiscent of Daphne de Maurier's works. - Amazon US Review




In the end, I just really loved this story. I enjoyed watching Emeline's transformation, and seeing her challenged. I really liked the progression of her and her husband John's relationship. Supporting characters like Lottie and Ethel were well-developed, and the characters who conspire against Emeline are creepy and self-serving, yet possibly redeemable.Guys, if you want some realistic historical fiction that deals with difficult issues, that doesn't allow a love story to overcome the plot, and that has you really feeling for the characters involved, go and read this right now. - Goodreads Review



A White Room Won!


Shelf Unbound Magazine Notable Page Turners & Favorite Cover! Pg 36 & 40
“The best historical fiction makes you forget it’s fiction and forget it’s historical. Reminiscent of The Yellow Wallpaper, this book shows with alarming clarity what life was like for women before the modern age freed us of so many restraints … absolutely mesmerizing.”—Eileen Walsh, Ph.D. U.S. Women’s History, University of San Diego

USA Book News 2013 Best Book Award Cross Genre Category
A novel of grit, independence, and determination ... Despite the consequences, Emeline defies society’s expectations in her endeavor to help others, risking not only her marriage, but her reputation—and ultimately, her freedom. An intelligent story, well told.” 
—Renée Thompson, author of The Plume Hunter and The Bridge at Valentine


Q&A and Reading on Central Valley Talk




Fans of The Yellow Wallpaper will love this debut from Stephanie Carroll because it's about a woman feeling her house is alive and that other people are living in it. I, for one, couldn't put the book down but was also reading with the covers up to my chin and all of the lights on. It's not because the book is scary but because I could absolutely understand why Emeline was losing it. I could have sworn that my own walls were watching me ... - Barnes and Noble Review

Watch My Very First Book Reading!

Are Women Really Just Crazy?
Check out my talk on how Victorian Hysteria has Affected our Society's Perception of Women

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In addition to being an author, I am also a fire dancer!



Excerpt from "Forget Me Not" Featured in Legacy: An Anthology

Today Legacy: An Anthology is out! What is Legacy? Keep reading!

In January 2015, Velvet Morning Press and the The Book Wheel blogger Allison Hiltz challenged fourteen fiction and nonfiction authors to sit down, shut out distractions and write on this transcendent topic, all the while Tweeting about their efforts. The resulting fiction and nonfiction stories fill the pages of 
Legacy: An Anthology.

The book includes stories from Kristopher Jansma, winner of the 2014 Sherwood Anderson Award for Fiction, New York Times best-selling author Regina Calcaterra, 2013 USA Book News Best Book Award recipient Stephanie Carroll and Canadian best-selling author Marissa Stapley among others. Read about all the contributing authors on Velvet Morning Press.

Within these pages, there is laughter, pride and hope. There is romance and rock and roll. Certain messages are eerie, while others bestow a sense of peace. The collection, through the discerning lens of each writer, runs the gamut of the human experience.

Legacy: An Anthology is available on Amazon


Paws for Reading
Author proceeds from anthology sales will be donated to Paws for Reading, a program that allows children to read aloud to a therapy dog (or cat, or bunny!) in order to improve reading and communication skills. 



An Excerpt from 

"Forget Me Not"
By Stephanie Carroll
Featured in Legacy: An Anthology

     “You have to leave.”
     Myrtle had me hooked by the arm, escorting me to the front door.
     “But you’re my sister. They’re my nieces—my nephew. I only have three days left.”
     She wrenched open the door and shoved me onto the front stoop. “No Lauraline, I only have three days left. Three days until this obsession and madness finally ends.”
     I squeezed my purse with both hands. “I just—”
     She pointed back into her house. “Your nieces are terrified of you. William’s crying. How could you tell them that?”
     “They are older than we were.”
     She clenched her teeth, balled up her hands. “Clearly you don’t recall what that was like.” She jabbed a finger into her chest. “I’m was older. I saw what it did to you—to all of us.”
     I remembered my older sisters gasping and denying it, calling Grandmamma Silvia a monster and a witch for telling an eight-year-old such a thing.
     “Someone had to tell them.” A part of me knew it was wrong, but I had figured Grandmamma told us against our parents’ wishes; although, she had waited until after their deaths to do so.
     “You are turning thirty, not ninety, and clearly you haven’t gained an ounce of wisdom in that time if you think that was appropriate.”
     I looked down. “Will you still come?”
     She crossed her arms and pursed her lips. “No. We won’t be able to attend.”
     I grimaced.
     “Don’t worry. You’ll see us again.” She narrowed her eyes. “I will be sure to come by in—not three—but four days.”
     I stood there on her stoop, pleading with my eyes, like I was still eight. “But—I’ll be dead.”
     She clenched her eyes shut and pointed out to the street. “Lauraline, just go. Please.” She shook her head. “Damn Silvia for doing this to you.” Then she slammed the door.

I rode two streetcars and then caught the train out of San Francisco back to Colma. It was about forty minutes before I spotted the milky white of carved wings, rugged pillars and monoliths, obelisks, and rows and rows of tombstones. The fog had lifted and now hovered like a wool blanket in the sky. The moisture persuaded the grass and clover to turn exceptionally green this time of year, and it flourished among the dead. The train stopped at a few cemeteries before reaching my stop.
     Colma is where San Francisco buries their dead. It’s a little unincorporated community just south of the city, close enough to visit by carriage, streetcar, or train. There are ten cemeteries already and talk of more because San Francisco passed an ordinance forbidding new burials within the city. All the dead come to us now. My grandfather was a sexton, and when he passed, my grandmamma said she had stayed in Colma to be closer to his whispers. Couldn’t I hear my father’s whispers, she had asked, but I never could.
     I walked from the station, passing three cemeteries on the way to the house my grandmamma had left me after she died. I had little other choice than to occupy it, despite my sisters’ desire for me to move to the city. I wasn’t exactly frugal with the little I earned taking down headstone engravings, so the house is of some use. 
     Besides, I couldn’t abandon the place where we grew up, a place that had so much of our grandmamma entwined within in its walls. That’s why I insisted if they threw a party, they had to do it at the house. They had avoided the house as much as a newcomer avoids soft soil. They’ll forget Grandmamma when it’s gone—they’ll forget me too.
     I stopped outside the iron-rod gate and stared at it, recalling how it felt to lay eyes on this house for the first time when I was eight years old. My parents must have avoided the house too because we did not see it until that dreadful day. To me, the house resembled a stack of decorative matchboxes stood on end, narrow and lofty as if it had wanted to rise above the clouds. A Belvedere tower loomed one level above the third story and had iron rods sticking up around the pointed roof. The doors and windows all stretched and thinned, and the wood carvings coiled and burst, manifesting puzzling ideas on the gabled pediments.
     I looked over my shoulder across the street at what was the edge of one of the graveyards, an area of which had been left vacant since I was a child. In the winter, the fog concealed the tombstones in the distance, and the grass and little purple forget-me-nots almost had a luminescence against the white. Just once, I told myself, just once I should go over there, but I knew I wouldn’t. I had never stepped foot in that special place, not even as a child.
     I turned back. After my sisters called our grandmamma a witch, I spent a lot of time hiding from her in the labyrinth that was her house. I slipped behind the secret doors in the paneling, played on the staircases inside the walls, and slinked around in the abandoned rooms. I used to skulk up the tower stairs into the attic and stare out the window, pretending that beyond the fog, the graveyard across the street was a meadow that went on forever. I used to imagine myself walking into the fog, disappearing into the endless white.


Read the Rest in Legacy: An Anthology available on Amazon

The Binding of Saint Barbara

Thursday, April 16, 2015

William Kemmler lunges forward, grabs the girl's blouse and yanks her up against his cell bars. He wraps his thick fingers around her throat and squeezes. “What do you want devil?”

Front entrance to Auburn Prison photo credit: 


She gasps, wheezes, but cannot find the air. Guard Daniel McNaughton, the man this girl pines for, slams his club against the prisoner's skull forcing him to release her. As the darkness envelops Charlotte Durston, she experiences a moment of certainty that this event will seal her fate as the warden's helpless daughter, a cloistered captive of Auburn Prison. 

In spite of all this, several months later, Charlotte's mother Gertrude convinces her husband, the prison's warden, that they must expose their daughter to the worst of God's creatures to ensure she never falls victim again. Gertrude preaches to the inmates, demanding respect from them daily, and she must teach this skill to her daughter. However, Gertrude feels pressed to tend to her daughter's attacker, the man who will be the first ever executed in Auburn Prison and the first ever executed by electricity. Once settling Charlotte in a routine with the other prisoners she leaves her alone so that she can focus on the condemned man and his repentance, fulfilling her lifelong duty to God.

Without her mother's guidance, Charlotte is terrified of the prisoners, but overcomes her fears when she befriends an inmate named Michael Bradley, who turns out to have information that may save the condemned murderer William Kemmler and prove Charlotte worthy of her independence.

Daniel McNaughton, the guard in charge of the condemned William Kemmler, is suspicious of Bradley even though his criminal record appears mild. Still, his suspicion peaks when he learns the warden's wife and daughter have plotted to have Bradley serve as a witness for the appeal case that may save William Kemmler's life.

Based on the true history of the first death by electrocution and with the use of real newspaper articles from the time, The Binding of Saint Barbara interweaves history and intrigue to create a seamless exploration of the good and evil in us all.

Title, characters, and story-line may be altered on works that are in-progress.



The History in Historical Women's Fiction "A White Room"

THE HISTORY BEHIND A WHITE ROOM 
FROM THE AUTHOR


I spent six months conducting the initial research for A White Room and continued that research whenever uncertainties and curiosities arose. Anytime I work on the book, I end up looking up historical facts to make sure I am not missing anything.

photo credit: jondresner via photopin cc
Let’s start with setting. A White Room is set in Labellum, Missouri, which is a fictional town I made up, but it’s a town inspired by Hannibal, Missouri – Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) and Titanic’s Molly Brown came from Hannibal. It’s believed Mark Twain set his Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer novels in Hannibal although he did not name the town that in the books. Mark Twain visited Hannibal up until he died. The last time he visited was 1902.

Originally, my novel contained a scene where my main character Emeline Dorr bumps into a man named Samuel Clemens. This was my little shout out to Mark Twain, but after I decided to change the name of the town, it seemed better to remove it from the final manuscript. Mark Twain’s family home, a white house along with a white picket fence (believed to be the fence painted by Huck and Tom), still stands today. Using local history books, photos, and Google Earth, I did my best to recreate historical Hannibal, Missouri. After so much effort to accurately describe Hannibal, I ultimately decided to rename the town because the story involves the town and nothing like what happens in the story ever happened in Hannibal that I know of and it could be taken as offensive.

Photo from Dave's Victorian House Site
The reason I chose Hannibal in the first place wasn’t because of the town, but because of a house. The house described in A White Room is a real home called the Doyle-Mounce house, which was built in 1880 and is located in Hannibal. It’s called the Doyle-Mounce house because it was built by a 
Mr. Doyle and altered by a Mr. Mounce. In the book I describe the real exterior of the house, but the inside is all a fabrication of my own because there are no photos of the inside available online. I chose this house because I didn’t know how to describe a Victorian home, and I wanted something that was dark and creepy, but I also wanted it to be white to reflect the overall concept of a white room. Long behold this house screamed out at me like a massive beast. It wanted to be a star!

The furniture described in A White Room is also based on real historical furniture from the times – primarily from the Art Nouveau trend, which incorporated living creatures and winding appendages into the art, furniture, and architecture. I combed through tons of Victorian furniture books and antique guides searching for pieces to go in Emeline’s home and eventually come to life in her hallucinations.

photo credit: h_dwight_beers via photopin cc
I couldn’t just make this stuff up. I had to make it as accurate to the times as possible because this furniture is going to do some weird stuff that isn’t based on fact. Everything described in great detail in the book is based on real objects, including the owl bowl, John’s desk and chair, the bizarre dishes and glowing decanters, the cabinets with windy appendages, and the mirror with the woman flowing into a metallic wave of wind and butterflies. Check out the Art Nouveau style HERE! 

Insanity! Emeline’s hallucinations are not based on a factual mental disorder but a dramatization of the common disorder of the late 19th century and early 20th century called hysteria. This condition is most well known from the literary short story The Yellow Wallpaper, which was an inspiration for A 

White Room. At this time period psychology was becoming well known and popular. Hysteria was the funny disorder characterized by hundreds of different symptoms, so any kind of out-of-the-norm behavior, specifically among women, could lead to a diagnosis of hysteria. The causes of hysteria were also wide and varied – the simplest being too much or too little stimulation/stress – and the most bizarre being wild theories of female organs (usually the uterus) floating unrestrained within the body and effecting the brain. Sexual dysfunction and dissatisfaction also came into play.

The primary cures for hysteria were the water cure (dunking or resting in hot and cold baths) and sensory deprivation, meaning bed rest and absolutely no mental, emotional, or other stimulation. This is the cure that drove some women, and Emeline Dorr in my novel, deeper into insanity because they were expected to lay in bed and do nothing for long periods of time. When sexual issues were considered an issue,  manual and electric stimulation were used to release the “nervous tension” and at times the goal was to produce an orgasm.

photo credit: rockcreek via photopin cc
Hysteria in women was often a reflection of various stressors occurring in the domestic realm during this time period, i.e. women were entering the workforce and seeking independence for the first time, but society still needed women in the domestic sphere in order to provide food, clothing, sanitation, basic education, religious guidance, and order to the family. However, at the turn of the century factory production, new technology, and new trends were changing the face of domesticity, which allowed for women to leave the home for the first time.

Still, society at large did not recognize these changes as they were occurring. Usually, the women diagnosed with hysteria were rebelling against traditional domestic roles in some form or another – many were trying to gain independence, were sexually promiscuous (which could be a minimum of one partner outside of marriage), or were accused of lesbianism. Those are the most obvious circumstances, but all kinds of women with all kinds of symptoms were diagnosed.

The idea of professionalizing medicine and eradicating midwives and unlicensed nurses was a real movement at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20thcentury. Hunting down abortionists like witches was also a very real legal movement. When caught male investigators would interrogate the people involved and force them to describe information about the medical procedure involving a woman’s genitalia. At the time, this was something people did not talk about openly, so those involved felt degraded, mortified, and sometimes even traumatized.

photo credit: Robert T Bell via photopin cc
The dying confession described in my novel was the one exception to the hearsay rule. It allowed for testimonies given by women before they died from an abortion to be held up as firm as a live testimony in court. Investigators pushed women who had abortions to give up the abortionist because it could be used as a definitive testimony in court if the woman did not survive.

These are just some of the larger historical ideas in A White Room,but almost every detail in the book has been researched and tailored to the times, from the clothing, speech, etiquette, women at college, mourning rituals, dinner party procedure, home features, medical procedures, medical ailments, etc. Even some of the nursing Emeline conducts is based on accounts by female nurses at the time. Emeline’s lack of knowledge about sex and the idea that no one would tell her, so she would just find out on her wedding night is based on accounts given by women in letters and journals at the time.

The history of men and women at the turn of the century is extremely intriguing because it wasn’t just the beginning of a new century, it was also the beginning of many major changes in the world. Within a decade the New Woman of the 1920s would appear; technology would be on the rise with electricity, phones, and airplanes; not to mention World War, and so much more. I hope everyone gets a kick out of how fact weaves into fiction in this crazy book.

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How Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" Inspired My Novel "A White Room"

CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN'S THE YELLOW WALLPAPER IN A WHITE ROOM

“The Yellow Wallpaper”  is about a woman diagnosed with hysteria and confined to her bed as a form of treatment. Her doctor husband won’t allow her to do anything but rest because it was believed stimulation would worsen her condition. The story is written as if it were a journal she is sneaking as her writing was discouraged too. She keeps talking about how the only thing she can do all day is stare at this horrendous wallpaper in her room. She becomes obsessed with it, and starts seeing it move, starts seeing a woman trapped behind it.

Public Domain Photo
She goes mad, and in the last scene, she is “creeping” around the room peeling the yellow paper from the walls and laughing as everyone who had acted as her jail-keepers watches in horror. She has freed the woman behind the paper and in doing so becomes her, a wild thing freed from her bounds. Her husband faints. I interpreted this as her finding freedom through madness as she no longer cares what her husband says or what society expects.

The first thing in A White Room that people recognize as reminiscent of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is the situation of a husband taking his wife to an isolated and disturbing country home and forcing her to rest as a form of treatment for hysteria. I re-envisioned the element of something inanimate coming to life with the house and furniture. I chose those elements instead of the wallpaper because I didn’t want to rewrite “The Yellow Wallpaper.” I wanted A White Room to stand on its own. Further, the house represents the white room in my metaphor. I wanted that white room and that white house to be the element that drove my character insane rather than the yellow wallpaper.

I incorporated the furniture after I discovered Victorian Art Nouveau. This style of furniture and decor had a lot of scrolling and winding designs that reminded me of the descriptions of the wallpaper in Gilman’s story. Plus, the designers incorporated either a life form or a suggestion of movement into every piece, so the objects practically look as though they are coming to life already. The combination of house and furniture was perfect as it embodies domesticity, which is the role and situation Emeline has been forced into.  
Art Nouveau sculture Loïe Fuller by François-
Raoul Larche (Worldwide Public Domain)

There are a variety of other more subtle elements that I took from the story, as well. The narrative is told from a limited and unreliable first-person perspective, so certain characters, like the husband, were strangers to the reader, and certain events may have occurred differently than how we are told. I used this point of view in A White Room and made Emeline's husband a stranger to the reader, at least until the very end.

The language I used in the novel is also highly inspired by “The Yellow Wallpaper.” When I reread the short story and realized I wanted to use it as my inspiration, I studied the language, assuming late 19th century vernacular would be very different from our own, but I was surprised at how modern it read. People could read this story today and think it is a contemporary piece of short fiction. It is so easy to read that I chose that route as opposed to a more flowery Victorian verbiage.

There is also a very distinctive mood created in “The Yellow Wallpaper.” It's a sense of isolation, despair, unease, and mystery characteristic of a haunted house story, but with an uncertainty of whether or not the things the main character sees are ghosts or her own hallucinations. This was one of the most complicated things to recreate. It was difficult to incite an uncertainty in the reader without causing confusion. The fact that it is not clear whether or not the house is haunted or if Emeline is seeing things is a reflection of that uncertainty in “The Yellow Wallpaper.” However, Gilman later explained that her story wasn’t meant to be a ghost story, and I can say the same thing about A White Room.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” ends with the wallpaper having driven the heroine insane, but in her madness she has discovered a sense of freedom. I still wanted my character to find freedom through insanity, but I didn’t want that to be the entire story. Instead, I made it so that Emeline is only able to pursue her passion after she goes insane because only then has she stopped caring what her husband says, what her family wants, and what society expects.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Public Domain Photo
Where I really strayed from “The Yellow Wallpaper” is in the second half of the novel. My first inclination was to have Emeline leave her husband whose treatment felt so unkind, but I wanted to do something unexpected with John because when you really look at his character in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” it’s not so clear as to whether he is in fact a monster or if he is simply ignorant and insistent because of his concern for his wife. I decided I could use the unreliable narrator to go in a direction with John that was unexpected.

Taking the story into the underground world of unlicensed nursing and the professionalization of medicine was the biggest split from “The Yellow Wallpaper.” I went in that direction because I wanted Emeline to have the desire to seek out a profession. I wanted her to have a dream to go after once she was free to do as she pleased. I was attracted to the nursing profession because of the history of how doctors and authorities went after midwives and unlicensed nurses in a way comparable to the witch trials.

I wanted to create an interesting juxtaposition. The witch trials were a movement of mass hysteria and in response to a belief that women were naturally flawed with a weakness for evil. This is comparable to why hysteria exploded in the late 19th century. It also dealt with the belief that women were flawed, only instead of evil, it was the belief that they were vulnerable to emotional and mental instability.

Also going with a medical theme allowed me to stick with Gilman’s portrayal of the professional doctor as the enemy, but I took it in a different direction playing on other historical trends in addition to that which impacted hysteria. Further, instead of making her husband a doctor, I turned him into a lawyer for the doctors.

Amazon US ReviewGood women's history, gripping suspense, and a great period piece. The reality of 19th-century American middle-class life for women is almost unrecognizable to us, no matter how many times we've read Little Women or Little House on the Prairie. I want everyone to read this book, and I want professors to use it in college classes. It is reminiscent of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf.

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Inspiration for my historical novel A White Room


photo credit: deflam via photopin cc
I first thought about writing a book in the post-Victorian/Industrial Revolution (1900 through 1910) time period while in college. We briefly learned about housewives who were so bored during the Industrial Revolution, as all their responsibilities were taken over by technology like the washing machine. The New Woman was also emerging, and many women felt lost in the traditional Victorian expectations of women and the new rising independence and strength of the new woman who worked, lived on her own, socialized without a chaperone, etc. Suddenly, there was an influx of women with anxiety, depression or just going crazy. Remember when you learned about hysteria and read The Yellow Wallpaper in high school or college? Psychology was also a semi new medical field and on the rise so diagnosing various problems as
psychological became popular around this time.

This was the first time the thought of a crazy housewife came to mind, but I found the time period intriguing as well because even as a history student, I couldn’t think of a visual image of period clothing. People can't think, oh yeah that's what they used to wear, which they can say about the 1920s or 1950s. I don't know why that grabbed my interest but it did. Nevertheless, at the time, the idea was fleeting, and I was preparing a science fiction story in my head.


photo credit: T|ng~ via photopin cc
Meanwhile, I finished my last year in college, which was a gruesome period of stress and being overworked not only from school but from my inability to say no to any new project. At one point I got so stressed I had repetitive burn outs. I felt obligated to give everything I had in every direction, and I desired freedom from it all. I sometimes thought about how freeing it would be to live without any obligation whatsoever, but not only is such a thing unattainable it is unfeasible. There’s always an obligation even if it is just getting food and shelter.

When I graduated college and moved to a new state, I left behind everything I was connected to and overwhelmed with, and for the first time I had some freedom to just be, but that freedom was unbearable. I had this overwhelming desire to do something of meaning while simultaneously wanting to do nothing.

One day I was going over these thoughts while in my new one-man white box of a shower, and I released my feelings through a type of free-write in my head, which ultimately grew into the core idea for A White Room.

I imagined a white room that represented the obligation of life and inside there was a woman in a white flowing dress. Outside the room lay freedom but outside one does not fulfill the obligations of life that keep you alive. The tragic thing about this place is in the end the woman has to and always chooses obligation over liberation to maintain her life and the lives of people who rely on her. 
 However, she questions how much longer she can stand the prison before she is willing to sacrifice it all for those few moments of freedom. Thus was born the  idea of A White Room.

photo credit: Caitfoto via photopin cc
It became a period piece because the woman I imagined in the room wore a historical dress. As I said before, I couldn't connect it with a specific time. When I looked at period clothing it resembled garments worn in 1914, think Titanic, but I ultimately chose to set the story in 1901 to ensure my character could be completely isolated. I did not want her to have access to phones, which were more common in 1914.

Initially, all I knew was the white room was going to drive her insane and through my research the story of her childhood and escape from insanity grew into Emeline Evans Dorr, the insane perfection-seeker who only wanted to be a nurse but sacrificed it all to serve her family but in the end finds freedom after all. The book is called A White Room instead of The White Room because anyone can have a white room of their own. Later the classic short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman would play a large role in the development of this inspiration.   

Amazon US ReviewCarroll does a superb job of pulling the reader in from the start. We feel as if we are Emma, her thoughts and actions and worries so pervasive to our own minds. Just as the house seeps in to our bones and we feel it closing around us as Emma does, as we feel the creepiness making the hair on our arms raise, just as we ourselves might go mad out of anger for Emma's life, a redeeming break happens. The light enters in and Emma shines. - Erin Al-Mehairi


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Why Society Says "Women Are Crazy" & How it's Connected to 19th Century Hysteria

Thursday, March 19, 2015




Are Women Really Crazy? 
A Women's History Discussion

The video above is of a talk I did for Women's History Month. I spoke at West Hills College on the impact the turn of the century hysteria epidemic still has on modern day women. Here is a little taste of what you will see:

Women are crazy! That's a common phrase now a-days. We hear people say that on television, in music, advertisements, and from the people around us, both men and women, but does that mean women really are crazy? Sure we cry, sometimes we scream, and we might even slam things but are those symptoms of mental illness? I think we'd all have to say no, and yet women can't shake this word - crazy. What's more, women in our society have accepted that they have to hide certain emotions and behaviors for fear of appearing weak or crazy. 

The reality is, that phrase has meaning. It reflects a perception about women in our society, but where did it come from? Why is it a part of our culture? And more importantly, when did women begin to accept it?

Watch my video to find out!
 
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