Miss Jane by Brad Watson
Inspired by the life of his great aunt, author Brad Watson tells the moving story of Jane Chisolm, born into a rural Mississippi family in 1915. In a time when a woman’s lot in life revolved around marriage and childbearing, Jane suffered from a rare genetic disorder that meant she was born without a vagina, and also had trouble controlling her bowels. Due to her differences and her frequent accidents, her childhood was spent at home on the farm, and largely alone. Many aspects of a normal upbringing were denied to Jane, but through her strength, generosity and determination, she found meaning and beauty in a different kind of life.
Woven throughout the story is the unwavering friendship between Jane and her sincere, earnest family doctor, Dr Thompson. Present at her birth, he persists in trying to uncover a medical solution that would ease, if not completely fix, her symptoms, and her chance at a better life. The genuine love and trust that exists between these two beautiful characters, was, for me, one of the most rewarding aspects of the novel.
Miss Jane is a beautifully written book that encourages contemplation – a quiet, reflective novel, tinged with sadness but ultimately uplifting.
Reviewed by Carmen