Carol by Patricia Highsmith – review
‘It will change the way you look at everything’
Saturday 23 January 2016
Carol was originally published under the title The Price of Salt in 1952, and was first published under the pseudonym “Claire Morgan” rather than the author’s actual name, Patricia Highsmith. This was due to the fact that the storyline focused on a same-sex relationship, something that wasn’t accepted at the time.
The story tells the tale of a nineteen year-old woman, Therese, working in a department store, when a blonde woman in her thirties enters the shop: Carol. You could call it love at first sight. Therese is trapped in a life she doesn’t enjoy: a dead end job and a boyfriend she doesn’t love. Carol is in the stages of divorce and fighting for the custody of her only daughter.
When the two women meet they are both in a point of life where they need something more to give them a reason to carry on; they become each other’s reason. Both women set off on a road trip together where their relationship becomes clear to each of them and life starts to settle. Maybe the world could learn to accept that they are in love? Then they discover that the world is not quite ready for that. They are being followed.
Their conversations are being listened into. Everything they do is being reported, and can be used against Carol in court. This is a book about love, sexuality and family, and overall just who comes first when it all falls apart. Can both women fight for each other until the end? Or was it just destined not to work out? And will their relationship mean the sacrifice of everything they’ve both ever known?
This book is a must read. It is an honest outline of the changes in society and the way we address topics such as sexuality. It will change the way you look at everything and make you realise that, although slowly, maybe this generation is heading in the right direction when you compare life today with the setting of the book.
You must read Carol if you love books about real life and real issues. It will change the way you look at this topic and your life in general.