Sunday, March 1, 2015

Log of the SS The Mrs Unguentine by Stanley Crawford

A Marriage Adrift at Sea (Marriage/Novella)

Log of the SS The Mrs Unguentine by Stanley Crawford.  Ever want to get away from it all, get off the grid in a remote cabin in Alaska, or maybe retire and travel in an RV for years, or perhaps sail on the open sea, forever leave the hassles and complications of everyday life behind?  Well, this novella may make you think twice about such a dream. In the Log of the SS The Mrs Unguentine, a woman recounts her life at sea with her husband—a crazy, abusive alcoholic who rarely spoke to her.  Mrs Unguentine was literally trapped in her marriage out at sea for over forty years. This was more like a slow-moving nightmare.  Loneliness was her biggest complaint on a converted garbage barge where tending to her massive gardens was her duty and comfort, where her husband preferred to communicate with notes rather than talk, where time seemed to slowly eat at their sanity. Her own account contained some incidents that were “improbable, unlikely, impossible,” words she used to describe things Mr Unguentine told her about his past in the rare times he did talk to her.   

I thought this brief 107-page book was thought-provoking, at times amusing and sad. What would it be like to be so free and captive at the same time?  They were free to walk around naked, free from social expectations, free to be creative. Yet they, or more like Mrs Unguentine, was a prisoner of isolation.  How many women would last one year much less four decades alone with only their husbands and no other human contact?  Count me out.   More importantly, how would I get my books adrift at sea?

This book met one of my 2015 Book Challenges: Read a novella.

Happy Reading,


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