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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A twisted, brilliant version of Alice and her looking glass
Simply, 'Mouthing The Words' resonates. I would wager that even for those readers who hadn't shared similar experiences as the protagonist, Thelma, Gibb's writing is such that Thelma's journey is accessible and understandable - even through the madness.
The focus is removed from the events of the abuse itself, and instead the reader watches Thelma develope her own...
Published on 15 Mar 2005 by blue-butterfly_

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars an uncomfortable but worthwhile read
This is a disturbing but compelling novel which instantly draws you into Thelma's uncomfortable world of imaginary friends and abuse. Thelma's subsequent descent into mental illness is brilliantly described, with a lightness of touch that makes its difficult subject matter more palatable. Thelma is an utterly believable character and avoids falling into the trap of...
Published on 11 Aug 2011 by Kats


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A twisted, brilliant version of Alice and her looking glass, 15 Mar 2005
This review is from: Mouthing The Words (Paperback)
Simply, 'Mouthing The Words' resonates. I would wager that even for those readers who hadn't shared similar experiences as the protagonist, Thelma, Gibb's writing is such that Thelma's journey is accessible and understandable - even through the madness.
The focus is removed from the events of the abuse itself, and instead the reader watches Thelma develope her own defence mechanisms - imaginary friends/split personalities, numbness and dissociation to name a few (all psychologically normative responses to severe trauma). Watching the development of these defences as they emerge through her childhood is fascinating, disturbing and extremely poignant.
In Thelma's early adulthood these mechanisms collapse into a harrowing period of full-fledged mental illness and Gibb's skill really comes through. People who suffer from such illnesses find it hard to recognise themselves as ill, and, true to this, Thelma moves gracefully through a sanely-crazy reality. One gets the feeling that she is thinking clearer than ever before throughout this time. In my opinion that is a hard perspective to write from, and Gibb has mastered it.
Unlike too many novels that deal with tragedy or trauma through melancholic pathos, 'Mouthing The Words' is written with a literary integrity that entitles Thelma to transcend a one-sided, crippled object of pity. Instead she is alternately funny, naive, cold, loving and always utterly screwed.
As the title suggests much of the imagery centres around Thelma and silence - external and internal silences, frustrated communication, mouths as sexual weapons, words as tools. This imagery forms the skeleton of the text and in my opinion subtly pulls the novel together.
Whether Thelma's experiences engender either sympathy or empathy I can't recommend this novel enough.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars one of the most disturbed and disturbing books ever, 23 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mouthing The Words (Paperback)
Without a doubt Camilla Gibb has excelled in entering the mind of a disturbed child as she moves into adulthood. The way in which she tackles the often inflammatory subjects of sexual abuse and eating disorders is quite extraordinary. This book is not an easy read - it takes time and commitment to stay with the often distressing content but...it is worth it !
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How can this not be a real story?, 27 May 2002
This review is from: Mouthing The Words (Paperback)
I felt that the book was absolutely amazing. The style is both enthralling and sophisticated. The harrowing tale of a child ruined by the mis-interpretation of the word 'nuture' is coupled with the sparky and often amusing realism of the characters - especially Thelma. It's on the same par as Girl Interrupted and Prozac Nation, but in my opinion better :) Thumbs up to Camilla Gibb!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, entertaining, disturbing, 29 Nov 2004
This review is from: Mouthing The Words (Paperback)
This very strong first novel is as entertaining as it is disturbing. Thelma, its troubled heroine, seeks comfort from from her daddy's 'naughty secretaries' game in the shelter of her imaginary friends, never quite losing her perspective one step to the side of reality as everybody around her knows it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Darkly witty & beautifully written, 28 Sep 2007
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C. Arnold (Bedfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mouthing The Words (Paperback)
This is a book that I came across rather accidentally & I must say, rather like babies, it's been a wonderful accident! The author addresses the issues of incest, sexual abuse and the mental ramifications that can occur as a result of such abuse with dark humour and poetic narrative. This is as good as Sylvia Plath's 'The Bell Jar' and I feel as though I need to read it again in order to appreciate it as much as it deserves. This novel emphasises that although the narrator has suffered badly, happiness can be achieved through self-perseverence. A truly inspirational read and highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking novel about the secrets within., 10 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mouthing the Words (Hardcover)
This novel is hauntingly beautiful, Gibb describes her child hood journey through a series of traumatic events, her eating disorder and her eventual descent into madness. Mouthing the words is a tribute to Gibb's determination to succeed under circumstances which would force most of us to abandon hope. This novel is bound to make you look at the way that you feel things and could engage you into a voyage of self discovery. Definetely worth a look.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Underrated, 17 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Mouthing The Words (Paperback)
This book was excellent. It was original, intriguing and interesting, dealing with several difficult subjects without becoming too 'heavy' or feeling too tragic. This book isn't your average 'tragic life story' - it's more. It's easy to get lost inside Thelma's rather complex mind, explore her mental state and the thoughts that this brings her. It's not boring and although you may look back and think some of the things in the book are almost unbelievable, it feels completely realistic. The protagonist sounded like Sylvia Plath and Austen Burroughs combined. Hard hitting and real but with the hint of dark humour. The book managed to hold thought, emotion and humour despite all of the subjects in the book that included homosexuality, suicide, abuse and mental illness. Interestingly and well written with a few quotes/messages that I loved. A book that I'd definitely recommend.
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3.0 out of 5 stars an uncomfortable but worthwhile read, 11 Aug 2011
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Kats (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mouthing The Words (Paperback)
This is a disturbing but compelling novel which instantly draws you into Thelma's uncomfortable world of imaginary friends and abuse. Thelma's subsequent descent into mental illness is brilliantly described, with a lightness of touch that makes its difficult subject matter more palatable. Thelma is an utterly believable character and avoids falling into the trap of self-pity. And yet I found it hard to warm to her. A well-written book that is worth reading, but not one to fall in love with.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An important new voice in fiction, 6 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mouthing the Words (Hardcover)
I couldn't put this book down. It depicted the feelings of a child in an unjust world in such a powerful and empathic way. Camilla Gibb has the ability to 'catch us up' in this child's life with her evocative and creative language. We really connect to this child. I highly recommend it. Mary A.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gibb transcends the generic genres, 28 Mar 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Mouthing the Words (Hardcover)
Camilla Gibb takes a fresh, humourous, and powerfully provocative look into relationships and the human spirit. This book is a delightful departure from the forumla best sellers. I highly recommend this book - but be prepared for a heavy dose of hardcore, in-your-face, reality. Enojoy!
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Mouthing The Words
Mouthing The Words by Camilla Gibb (Paperback - 7 Feb 2002)
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