Sunday, March 13, 2016

Review, The Price of Salt

This was one of the best books I have ever read. The quality of writing is rich and layered like a glass of fine red wine. It is intelligent and full of passion in and of the story.

Salt, as I read it, is a metaphor for passion, love and companionship - the kind person who we often call "the one." This book is an important book on so many levels. 

The Price of Salt (later republished under the title Carol) is a 1952 romance novel by Patricia Highsmith, first published under the pseudonym "Claire Morgan". At the time homosexuality was a crime and just being a lesbian could be enough to cost a woman custody of her child. The topic was so sensitive the author had to use a pseudonym.

In the book Carol Aird and another woman named Therese become lovers. Carol and her estranged husband Harge are going through a divorce. They have a daughter, Rindy. The book is about Carol's relationship with Therese and how that romance is used as a weapon by Harge, in their divorce, to take away Rindy.

The Price of Salt is a wonderful love story, and so much more. In terms of same sex relationships, it also tells the story of how bad things were for same sex couples, how far we have come and how cultural values can destroy, instead of reinforce, loving families that are not culturally normative.

We can look back on history and say shame on them then. But, these kinds of attacks still go on on people who love differently. My polyamorous friend Gracie (an excellent mom) went through a similar court battle not long ago. One of her partner's ex-wife went after him and tried to block his custody rights because of his relationship with Gracie. This kind of stuff still happens.

Knowing what she went through and knowing that this story is not just history, but in other contexts is political science, made this story especially poignant for me.