Speaking of female figures, I think of Janet Frame, a New Zealand author who I met at twenty and struck me a lot. A friend of mine gave me her autobiography, An angel at my table. I immediately liked Janet, she was a particular girl with a big head of red curls, and red and white cheeks. She is a very poor little girl, lives with her mother and siblings in a shack, there is no money but there is no lack of imagination in that small house that her mother tries to make a place welcoming and always new. Janet lives in solitude at school, watching her companions skipping the rope and dreaming of being invited to play, this will never happen because she is considered the weird one. The teacher does not consider her, for she remains the poor and dirty little girl to leave in a corner. It all begins with a book that Janet borrows, the Grimm brothers' fairy tales. Janet begins to read and imagine, the thirst for reading does not calm down and she begins to write and never stops.
Janet graduates as a teacher and also begins to teach, because she feels different and excluded, Janet attempts suicide with a box of aspirin, she is subjected to psychiatric treatment after which she refuses to return home due to the tensions in her family between her father and her brothers and this will be his condemnation because due to the difficulty in socializing and the fact that in order to survive she created a worl apart, she is diagnosed with schizophrenia and she is locked up in a mental hospital. Here she is subjected to more than 400 electroshocks.
Janet despite this, continues to write and sends what she wrote to his sister. In the asylum she behaves almost like a nurse helping the other patients, despite this, it is set the date for the lobotomy. And here comes the miracle. The day before the lobotomy the operation is canceled and Janet is released from the hospital. Janet's sister collected her stories during her stay and sent them to a prestigious literary prize that Janet wins. Janet continues to write, wins so many awards and arrives in Europe where finally a doctor tells her that she is not schizophrenic but has only socialization problems "If you don't want to socialize simply don't socialize". Finally, Janet begins to feel 'normal', continues to write to understand and tell about herself and her diversity. He is about thirty and says, "I know that at my age most women would have the help of a partner, a husband, a friend. I also know that 'most women' do not exist and that not being one of them due to lack of inclination or even incapacity is not a personal failure: failure lies in the expectations of others ".
Janet was not schizophrenic, she was an artist. "An angel at my table" is a biography and a wonderful book, I found it wonderful but I understand that it is not a reading for everyone, we must approach it with a lot of empathy and patience that small and fragile things need.
From this book the director Jane Campion has made a very intense movie with the same title.
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