Miss Jane by Brad Watson
(W. W. Norton & Company, 2016, 288 pages)
Miss Jane is a novel that tells the story of Jane Chisholm, a woman inspired by the author’s great aunt, who was born with a birth defect that changed the course of her life. Set in the early 20th century on a rural farm in Alabama the reader learns that Jane is born with incompletely formed genitalia. This means a number of things including the fact that she has to deal with incontinence and the fact that she’ll never have the type of romantic relationship most other people are privy to.
We see how Jane traverses life with this “burden.” With the help of her family and her family doctor she is able to live as normal a life as is possible in her condition. Even though it seems awkward to say given the subject matter, this was a really pleasurable read. Watson did an amazing job conveying a sense of time and place in his book while also really capturing the characters. I can’t quite put my finger on what books it reminded me of, but I couldn’t wait to get back to this book after any period when I put it down. It was an immersive reading experience.
I look forward to checking out more of Watson’s work.