By Isabella MacLeod
Miranda’s life is thrown into turmoil after being diagnosed with Morgollen’s Syndrome—a rare disease where the body starts producing strange objects from the skin. With it, her life changes quickly, along with her marriage and career.
I’ve written about this book in a different fashion, throwing out my ‘prose-character-structure’ template. As you read, I hope you will see why. It is impossible to cut this book apart so easily. I am still greatly bothered by it.
The writing in this book is spectacular! It’s first person, which can be hard. To pull something like that off, you need an original voice, and with the character of Miranda, the author does that. On top of this, she sounds one hundred percent authentic, like someone we’ve met or seen a thousand times before—completely relateable.
That being said, there are some minor errors with the text—missing quotation marks, misspelled words, and such—but all are infrequent and negligible. The story is so gripping that it is easy to overlooking an occasional mistake.
Now we start getting to the hard part.
The author decides to dedicate the first chapter to the disease, and this could be jarring for some readers. I’ve read about such things before—infestations—and it is noted that there is a natural, almost guttural reaction programmed into our brains when encountering such things. We desire to protect our bodies from being infested by parasites and in turn find it revolting, especially pictures. In this way, the first chapter can be jarring, though, luckily there are no pictures. And if this were just a story about that, the book would be okay. But there’s more.
This particular disease, because of its strange symptoms, has not been fully accepted by the medical community at large. Some believe it is a psychological disorder where the patients make up these conditions in a manner tantamount to Munchausen’s. But let me be clear: that is not so. It is a real problem, and it is clear that the author wishes for others to recognize it, which is laudable. But again, if this were the sole drive for this story, that would be great. But there’s still more.
On top of all I’ve already said, it is a story of a woman who is dealing with a failing marriage. She avows to us near the end of the first chapter that she has met a man other than her husband, and as the story proceeds, we see how this family of two children slowly falls apart. The husband and his side of the family believe, like most doctors, that Miranda’s problems are mental and she struggles to prove herself sane. With her disease, we the reader immediately sympathize with her. No one should have to suffer with such bad health, but what makes this book awesome is not that this is just a story about her disease, it’s also about this destroyed relationship.
As much as her husband doesn’t support her with her disease, the marriage was falling apart before she got it. And as it crumbles, you can see how fully dysfunctional both Miranda and her husband are. They both love pointing fingers at the other, saying it’s not me, it’s you, and they work so hard to find validation from friends and family for their side of the story that nothing ever gets solved. And that’s where it’s wonderful—Miranda is just as bad as the husband! But, as we are seeing it from her point of view, we see she fully believes her side of the story, seeing no fault in her actions, but lays it all solely on her husband, which, with the subtle gossip of her being crazy, strengthens the fact that she is such an unreliable narrator.
Added to this, the book is called ‘Metamorphsis.’ This implies change, and yet the only true change in the story is the nose job the narrator notes from time to time as the cause for her sudden increased attention by the males around her. Otherwise, Miranda actually undergoes no change whatsoever. Her character is untarnished, acting always as the ever-so-self-involved, selfish person that she is. It really raises many questions and makes you think if there is more to a person than that thin, flimsy personality we see floating on top.
I usually judge a book by how much it makes me react, by how much it makes me think. This book does that not only with the unreliable narrator and the many torrid affairs she has, but also because her name is Miranda MacLeod. This by itself is not stimulating until you notice that author’s name is Isabella MacLeod. Then combine this with the fact that the main character’s daughter’s name is Isabella, and things get a little complicated. To make matters worse, the web shows very little about the author or the book altogether, leaving a very thick mysterious feel to the whole thing.
So then, why only four and a half stars? I struggled with this greatly. Midway through, I was already set on a five star review…and then the ending came. Sadly, there really is no ending. And after searching the web and corresponding with the author a little bit, there appears to be a sequel in the works. For this reason, I lowered the score. The ending is so abrupt and so unsatisfying that I can’t justify giving it a full five stars. However, this book has had a strong impact on me, and I cannot shake it from my head with ease. And in my thinking, that’s what writing should be like.
To check her book out, click here.
Sadly, there is really little else I could find on the web.