Sunday, January 27, 2008

Educating yourself into depression

One of the reasons I've never sought out Iris Chang's The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II, is because I knew she'd committed suicide soon after the book was published. I figured, if the book was depressing enough to make the author lose all hope, then I probably wasn't going to enjoy it either. I had enough of a downer when I was reading sections of A Thousand Splendid Suns, when the bully Rasheed was beating up his wives and almost killing his daughter - and that's a novel, not a body of well-researched history.

But now that I've read an article about Iris Chang and her state of mind at that time, it seems that she was depressed for many other reasons too.

Although I'm still not too keen on reading about the details of the Chinese holocaust at Nanking.

7 comments:

Angela said...

Yes sounds very depressing

Violet said...

sure does.

Kazzer said...

Since I've become a Mum, I can't stand anything depressing or violent. Try reading Wilkie Collins. Jolly good yarns.

No Milk said...

i heard about this story on NPR and i think that it's not necessarily the story itself that made her commit suicide, but her history of emotional and mental illness. i think that the book may be worth reading...

Violet said...

kazzer: I like Wilkie Collins, but only ever found 2 of his books - The Moonstone and The Woman in White.

No Milk: yeah, I reckon I'd learn a lot of history from her book, but I just worry I'd feel either depressed or murderously angry (at the perpetrators) or both.

glomgold said...

I would not call it a 'fun' read but I found it to be an incredible eye-opener. I'm not sure how the educational system was for you but I don't recall even the mention of the event in any of my history classes growing up.

Violet said...

glomgold: same. I didn't know anything about it until I was an adult. but then, history wasn't big in our school curriculum.