Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads
This is the fictionalized version of the true love affair between Sigmund Freud and sister in law Minna Bernays. Told in the third person account we are traipsing behind single woman Minna as she leaves her previous employer and comes to stay with her sister’s family. Apparently Minna and Freud have always had a correspondence relationship but in spending more time together their feelings start to grow toward each other.
Previous to having read this I was and are still are unfamiliar with Freud’s work and know is has to do with the Psyche. From what this book tells me it appears he was a difficult man with many interchangeable relationships. Or I would just say he is a man-child who indulges himself and mopes when things don’t go his way. Minna is just one figure that is a passing fancy in his life, but it seems that she gets a bit too attached and it is all very tiresome.
I understand that this is in a certain time in history where women are still beholden to men or family, but I just wish she was bit more headstrong in her actions then in how she thought of herself. She felt she was brighter and more independent then her sister yet she still succumbs to him. She feels guilty and that she has committed the ultimate betrayal yet again her actions play out differently. Despite her behavior she keeps coming back.
Then there is Martha, Freud’s wife who has an opiate addiction lets her six children run wild, very little intervenes unless it involves pumping them full of drugs to put them to bed. She nags her husband and puts the burden of child rearing on her sister and nanny. The only pity one could have for Martha is that she is married to a brute who does not appear to care much for his family but later we see some depth of wisdom to the gal which comes a bit too late in the novel for one to care.
Although I found most of the characters dreadful it was all very appealing. They did a good job of portraying the atmosphere of late 19th century Vienna but I think some of the language may have been a bit simplified, nonetheless it was enjoyable.
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Release date: July 9, 2013