Go to Homepage   Leona Gom: Hating Gladys

 

Crescent Blues Book ViewsSumach Press (Trade Paperback), ISBN 1-894549-19-8

The cover of Leona Gom's Hating Gladys depicts bare, wintry land, an icy lake and its barren, rocky shoreline -- all perfect metaphors for the character of Gladys Pratt. Gladys Pratt's soul freezes her from within and radiates its bleakness out to everyone who encounters her. Her story offers a study in hatred. How hateful can one person be? How much hatred can someone generate in the people whose lives intersect hers? For how many years can they sustain such hate in their hearts, and at what costs -- to themselves as well as to the hated person?

Book: leona gum, hating gladys
Right at the beginning of Gom's story, the reader learns that Gladys Pratt may or may not die a very horrible death. As our acquaintance grows, we begin to wonder whether any, and if so which, of the other characters might be driven to vent their hatred of her in murderous vengefulness... if she is indeed murdered... if she does indeed die.

Hating Gladys explores the lives of four women -- first in the Yukon in the summer of 1965 and again, thirty-five years later, in Toronto in the year 2000. In the second part of the story, the reader catches up on the four separate life journeys of the women over the last three and a half decades. The reader discovers how various incidents in 1965 shaped their lives and, in year 2000, the ways that each of the four women ultimately responds to or resolves the events of her youth.

Leona Gom relates her story in the first person through two of the women in turn, one of the narrators being Gladys Pratt herself. Through this device, Ms Gom shows the reader some reasons why Gladys might be so horrid to the people around her, but skillfully, Gom never allows our understanding to soften into too much sympathy. In fact, another question to follow those I posed earlier might be: how much hatred can an author generate in the hearts of her readers toward a person whom we very well know to be an entirely fictional construct?

Not a particularly comfortable read, but certainly one that will provoke your thoughts and tease your curiosity.

Moira Richards

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