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Summary Mouthing the Words

By turns harrowing and hilarious this adroitly narrated winner of the Toronto Book Award re creates the world in the imagination of Thelma It's a world in which she can escape some of her painful childhood realities like those games her father likes to make her play where he's the boss and she the naughty secretary And her mother so fiercely favors her younger brother the cherubic Willy that Thelma finds herself perpetually in emotional exile No wonder Thelma asks Sharp witty darkly humourous this book is a fantastic read I read it in a day found t The Burn escape some of her painful childhood realities like those games her father likes to make her play where he's the boss and she the naughty secretary And her mother so fiercely favors her younger brother the cherubic Willy that Thelma finds herself perpetually in Diary of the Fall emotional The Brides of Rollrock Island exile No wonder Thelma asks Sharp witty darkly humourous this book is a fantastic read I read it in a day found t

Summary ☆ PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ☆ Camilla Gibb

Mouthing the Words

Mor prove to be as indomitable as her wit Moving and comic at once Hallucinatory hilarious and haunting Boston Globe Prickly unsentimentala portrait of terrible comic humanity New York Times Book Review Mesmerizing Lush visceral prose rings with an authority rarely found in first novels Washington Post Book World A novel of astonishing power An instantaneous classic Balti Sun Elegant sings with an almost Victorian delicacy and sophistication San Francisco Chronicle One of the few books that made me feel it in my gut Haven't read it in a long while a

Camilla Gibb ☆ 2 Review

Practically every adult she meets to adopt her Along Thelma's bumpy way from a rural English village to Canada to a law degree at Oxford she meets many potential parents and even makes some friends but it is with the companions of her fertile imagination with the scaredy baby Janawee moody and timid Ginniger and big strong stoic Heroin that Thelma finds comfort With them too she loses an already tenuous connection to reality though ultimately Thelma's spirit and hu This was such a uniue story probably because the main character used imaginary friend Bravest Dog Ever every adult she meets to adopt her Along Thelma's bumpy way from a rural English village to Canada to a law degree at Oxford she meets many potential parents and DOS Novelas Cortas even makes some friends but it is with the companions of her fertile imagination with the scaredy baby Janawee moody and timid Ginniger and big strong stoic Heroin that Thelma finds comfort With them too she loses an already tenuous connection to reality though ultimately Thelma's spirit and hu This was such a uniue story probably because the main character used imaginary friend


10 thoughts on “Mouthing the Words

  1. says:

    From the look of this book I was expecting casual young adult fiction but it was neither a casual story nor YA lit Relatively short at only 238 pages the novel was intense serious with subtle touches of humor and beautifully written Gibb covers some intense subject matter such as the sexual abuse and mental illness of the protagonist and handles it adeptly — the protagonist’s emotional state is convincingly bleak but without turning the novel into a suffocating wastelandSome uotes“I was born into a crowded room at St Mary Abbot’s hospital South Kensington in 1968 Born in London into a month of nights and days only distinguishable form one another by degrees of grey Born into a nation that regarded the delivery of new life as embarrassing and unseemly that operated a National Health Service which viewed birth as a pathology necessitating a ten day internment“In Grade One when I was given a fresh clean notebook in which to write something called ‘My Autobiography’ I wrote according to the certainty of the collective narrative ‘I was born purple and dead I was born in England’ as if to imply that birthplace determined birth state In fact as my mother describes it it may well have I did not burst forth into being I was pumped into existence by a machine Although I was the result of premature ejaculation I was not overly excited about being released into the world” pp 10–11“Perhaps I’d missed the point or spoiled her one attempt at female bonding but she rummaged around in the bathroom closet and thrust a box of tampons at me“‘Thanks Mum’ I said ‘But I won’t be needing these’ She does not realize that I have just decided never to have a period No thank you very much I am just not interested in going that route You can take these straight back to wherever they came from” p 86“ ‘You should do something with your hair’ Binbecka has started to say to me ‘It’s not becoming Do something like mine And clean your nails What’s wrong with you Thelma? Don’t you want boys to like you?’ she asks me“No I don’t want to paint my lips in Silver City Pink pull up my kilt and fold it over at the waist or press my face to the wire fence and giggle through to the other side I don’t understand this new language where I am supposed to say mean things about my friends like ‘Oh my gawd she’s like such a bitch’ and then spend three hours that night on the phone with her talking about boys I don’t understand” p 87“That was it for me Since I couldn’t be adopted myself; since I couldn’t seem to embrace a religion or a lover because that would involve ghastly deeds for which I was uite unprepared; since I couldn’t adopt a child or a cause or a nation I became a lawyer or rather I adopted the idea of the profession It would take me many many years to actually become a lawyer I still had all my madness to get through after all but at least the declaration was the start of something While everybody around me was so preoccupied with their bodies—their breasts their exotic dancing their ‘bonking’—I would devote myself to logical arguments and Faustian bargains Of course it didn’t occur to me that as an anorexic I was probably the one most preoccupied with my body I thought that I had transcended my body by refusing to yield to its basal demands I wasn’t really going to make much of a lawyer until I could come to terms with the fact that I inhabited both a mind and a body At least if I focused my mind I’d inhabit something” p 113“ ‘I do have a date as a matter of fact’ I say Just not the kind of date she imagines where a guy picks me up in his car and I wear a miniskirt and heels and I listen to him talk about himself all night and then he pulls out his Visa and then his penis shortly thereafter and I feel like I can’t protest the latter because I haven’t protested the former” p 201“We are moving in each other’s shadows taking delicate steps at fifty degree angles peering out occasionally to catch the sun in each other’s hair It involves talking into the early hours of the morning on benches outside pubs after closing Holding hands and speaking softly and sharing little details hitherto housed in a bulging file of secrets It is lovely and I am becoming braver I think this man is my boyfriend I think I am in something called a relationship It is hard for me to know if I am because I do not know what it must be but perhaps there are just not enough words in English to describe this kind of arrangement Arrangement As if it has order a structure somehow” p 147–8


  2. says:

    Sharp witty darkly humourous this book is a fantastic read I read it in a day found the characters easy to relate to The imagery is extremely realistic without being overpowering is exceptionally delicate


  3. says:

    Funny I've had a couple of books that are taking me ages to read But I found a copy of Camilla Gibb's Mouthing the Words in a crazy op shop on Redfern Street for one dollar was intrigued and finished it in two days Published in 2002 at a time when I was paying attention to new voices in Canadian fiction I remember hearing good things about the book so have been meaning to read it now for over a decade I enjoyed it The best thing about the book is Thelma spiky and funny and traumatised the main character and I did enjoy following her journey from childhood to adulthood I liked the sense of movement growth and possibility while not understating what she'd been through and the affects of her childhood sexual abuse It is a relatively slim book and I found the characterizations of the minor characters a bit undeveloped I wanted for them to be a bit rounded or interesting; yet perhaps it was a reflection of how the narrator related to the world too at a distance I was worried that some of the tropes of childhood sexual abuse were too familiar anorexia multiple personalities a character who is abrasive as defence I also nearly shouted at the page that with so much evidence of the abuse that no one except the narrator would mouth the words and deal directly with what happened to her It's in the backdrop that the abusive father is sent away is possibly jailed is kept away from the daughter but keeps coming back That other people know what happened but can't seem to say anything or provide support But the character of Thelma kept on becoming original and interesting throughout the book I was engaged with the way she started to form friendships and look into her sexuality and step outwards into the world Meanwhile the terrible effects of the abuse and society and her family's inability to provide support or address the issue seem like they could be terribly true and I have the feeling this book will be staying with me for a while


  4. says:

    It took me a chapter or two to fully entangle myself in this book because of my personal head space than anything else I think but once I was in I was in Simultaneously tender and brutal Mouthing the Words is perhaps one of the most resonant survivor journeys I have ever seen represented in the written formI particularly appreciated the fragmented and darkly chaotic passages describing Thelma's experiences with her father and with her subseuent illness as a young woman The style of writing felt very true in terms of reality; how disorganized and painful and surreal trauma is The written word tends to inherently categorize experience because language itself is a construct and this can make it difficult to write about destructive anomalous life events But Camilla Gibb played around this artfully and effectivelyMuch respect for this work of literature Highly recommended though with a definite trigger warning so do a little research before reading if you are concerned about this


  5. says:

    This was such a uniue story probably because the main character used imaginary friends and voices and retreated into her imagination for the bulk of her life because she was terribly abused both sexually and emotionally I couldn't uite believe it was a YA book but no matter the audience it was a story that was both tragic and hopeful Thelma is the protagonist and narrator and we totally get in her head as to how she sees things her family and the things that happen to her It's not even like she understands what is normal or not since the author does an amazing job of painting a picture of what someone living this life might be like I found it challenging to decipher what was real or not but once I got a grasp on things I couldn't put the book down It's a uick read I love Canadian writing


  6. says:

    This book was excellent It was original intriguing and interesting dealing with several difficult subjects without becoming too 'heavy' or feeling too tragic This book isn't your average 'tragic life story' it's It's easy to get lost inside Thelma's rather complex mind explore her mental state and the thoughts that this brings her It's not boring and although you may look back and think some of the things in the book are almost unbelievable it feels completely realistic The protagonist sounded like Sylvia Plath and Austen Burroughs combined Hard hitting and real but with the hint of dark humour The book managed to hold thought emotion and humour despite all of the subjects in the book that included homosexuality suicide abuse and mental illness Interestingly and well written with a few uotesmessages that I loved A book that I'd definitely recommend


  7. says:

    Super uick page turner about a girl named Thelma who survives child abuse from her father sexually and from her mother emotional and physical neglect and subseuently her own psychosis; and yet she manages to achieve spectacularly I fell in love with Thelma at the beginning and rooted for her so hard it felt like sharing in her triumph All the characters even the imaginary ones are colorfully presented and humorously described and writer Camilla Gibb does a winsome job entertaining the reader while explaining what it's like to go through such torments as eating disorders and schizophrenia One of the best debut novels I've ever read


  8. says:

    One of the few books that made me feel it in my gut Haven't read it in a long while and really want to go back to it one day


  9. says:

    I don’t find this book hilarious in anyway but oh how fantastic it is dark and absolutely mad but in a way where you can feel it I love it I wanna be an icicle


  10. says:

    uick review This book is certainly harrowing but rarely hilarious It mentioned hilarity in both the summary here on Goodreads and on the cover of the book itself I disagree It is clever sharp uick but the content is as gloomy as you'll findThis book what to say about this book I've only refrained from giving it a 5 star rating as I found it so miserable so #triggering in it's biting portrayal of sexual abuse anorexia and borderline personality disorder that it made me feel completely gloomy I wanted to take Thelma and wrap her in my arms Not that she would have wanted that not that that would have helpedThis is one of those rare books that you finish and wonder how someone could write something so fluid so utterly convincing so imaginative yet realistic I don't know how Gibb evaded awards and recognition for this but I wish it had gained traction It's a real gemI felt tired after reading this and not because I read it in a day or two Just because I felt like I lived through Thelma's life; an exhausting life that just kept pushing on and on relentless despite her attempts to slow or stop This story is small but doesn't feel so it feels as though it encompasses the whole world inside these pages We are pulled through the years tugged along roughly by the arm as Thelma hustles through a pained imaginative childhood young adult years of institutions unhappy high school law school and finally post graduate work at Oxford It is only because we believe in Thelma's inherent goodness intelligence and resilience that we have any hope left at the conclusion of the book I really liked this book I liked it's stark dark language it's unwillingness to tiptoe around and fluff The character work was so strong I feel like I personally KNOW Ginniger and Molly and Patrick I love it when books make you feel like thatI give this a very tentative 45 stars mainly because you can't do half points which is dumb Realistically it's a 45