Miriam Toews really knows how to write a book that is both hilarious and sad. That’s an amazing gift. Irma Voth is a story about Irma Voth, a mennonite girl shunned by her family (her father), left by her husband and feeling very alone. Still, I’m laughing on every page! It reminds me of the debate that goes on between some middle aged comedians or writers throughout Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda. Depending on how the story is told and I guess largely based on perspective, the same story could be a tragedy or a comedy. Irma Voth could have been a really dark and depressing novel but it was strangely the opposite. Perhaps, it was the naive main character and her wild imagination that kept things so light or maybe it was because people, even in the worst situations, can rise above and carry on. I like the idea of the latter.
Irma Voth is a young women who doesn’t have much going for her, not by choice, but throughout the book she finds people who show her a life beyond what she’s grown up with. From each person she encounters, she realizes a truth about herself and the world and most importantly, she sees what is wrong in her world. When we’re going through a hard time, how amazing is it to just have someone see your potential and give you hope? Some people just need a chance to shine.
I love Irma Voth. You might too. I recommend reading this book if you want to read about a girl who doesn’t give up.
And that’s in my uneducated opinion.