I think many readers may dislike Gilda and be extremely concerned about her behaviour. Her stalking, the drinking, the impulsive choices, the way she neglects her son and her obsessive need to control her son’s life.
I felt sorry for her, regardless of all the crazy and the selfish actions. I even shed a tear or two for her towards the end. In a way Bitter is everything but, it just depends on your perspective on the situation.
This is life with all its ups and downs, disappointment and joy, betrayal and love. Gilda could be any one of us in any era. Living with the guilt of separation and divorce. Trying to function within the confines of a patchwork family. Sitting on secrets to ensure the truth doesn’t destroy the fragile relationships between child and parent.
It’s interesting and also tragic to note that not one person asks Gilda how she is feeling. How she felt being targeted as a Jew in Germany, about the guilt she carries because she got out and others couldn’t. The fact she is treated as if she doesn’t love her son, when in reality she just finds it difficult to show her real emotions, is a tragedy.
I loved this little gem of a book. It just really spoke to me, perhaps because it portrays so perfectly what it is like to be misconceived and eternally being on the short end of the stick. History is written by the victors or the ones in positions of power, which includes divorced couples who share children. Parental alienation and blaming one parent, as opposed to getting on for the good of the child or children.
It’s a really intriguing read and not what I was expecting. In fact I was surprised at how much I was drawn to and felt sympathy for Gilda. I highly recommend it.
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, Pub.date 4 Oct. 2018