I'm a well read grad student who's bluntly honest about all things, although I try to be most honest about myself.
I reread this with Char. Already up for another reread. I'll edit and republish when I get the okay from Char. I couldn't help but race through this. I needed a late lunch break, but I knew, I knew what was coming and had to get to the end, so I could cry it all out. I'll add my real review later.
And I can talk all day about Virginia Vision.
I glean something new each time I read this: the connection between Virginia's physical and mental and emotional deterioration, the way Vision trees to be good to Virginia, but comes from a position of power that he can't help but exploit in the way he 'guides' her. It's, quite frankly, creepy, and yet inevitable. She is new to the world and he is trying to usher her into a normal life, or what he considers a normal life.
I get more of the sense of tragedy and dignity that pervades this: everyone is doing what they can, holding their heads up through some really bad situations, but they also do the things that lead to the ending that seems so clearly what was bound to happen from the first place in retrospect.
No one is normal, and this has been bugging me. They're so focused on normality - mostly due to Vision's obsession with being more 'normal' and by that he means more 'human' - that they don't see that no one fits the vision everyone has of normal. Those TV shows with picket fences, apple pie, and a family that is cohesive all of the time? It's just an impossibility. And while this series admits to that, and acknowledges that, humanity so often aims for the impossible knowing that they will not achieve it, there's something doomed, tragic, and again creepy in the way that Vision unbendingly insists on being that normal. (I would argue that the real difference between him and most humans is that they know enough to aim for the impossible, but to be flexible when they cannot achieve it.)
It's something that I haven't quite been able to pinpoint until this rereading. And after learning all of this, and that my boy isn't as perfect as I want him to be, I find myself admiring Virginia all the more. She dealt with it all, for the most part, with a willingness that seemed to be passivity. It was not. Those moments when she breaks the table, questions Vision, or lashes out at Vin that no one else does anything in the house makes it clear that she is not a doll, not a mere object, but a fully grown woman who has no real experience of the world. Not her own, at least. She is a hausfrau, but one who acknowledges her position, her is happy to be of use to her family, who loves her family dearly, and who is struggling with her position in the world. (Her repetitions of words, i assumed, was completed due the emotional trauma of the attack her family sustains in the first issue. However, she repeats words until she can't speak any longer, then breaks the table. I think much of her trauma comes from her unique position: she is meant to be an adult, fully formed, and doesn't have the years of experience to back that up. That must come with trauma of its own.)
She is far stronger than I expect her to be on each reread. I see more and more of her backbone each time I read either of these books. I love her dearly.
But I read most of volume two in public and managed not to cry more than a tear or two - which I hid - so I'm rather proud of that. This book brings out all the feels in me. All of them.
Obviously, I highly, highly suggest this series. So, so much!