Ecstasy: A Novel Book Review

From an early age, women are taught that beauty is currency. It can open doors, especially when it comes to marriage and the availability of potential husbands. But what happens when a woman seeks more out of life than marriage and children?

Alma Mahler (nee Schindler) was a gifted composer and had the drive to potentially succeed. But in turn of the century Vienna, a gifted woman who wanted a career outside of the traditional world of being a wife and mother was an anomaly.

Alma’s story is told in the new novel, Ecstasy: A Novel, by Mary Sharratt. The books starts when Alma is in her late teens. Renowned for her beauty, Alma is sought out by men who are as artistic and passionate as she is. Though she lives in a world in which women are denied career opportunities because they are women, Alma is determined to be known as a composer. After receiving several offers of marriage, Alma married the much older Gustav Mahler.

Though Gustav loves her, he makes one thing crystal clear: Alma must give up her music. Though Alma is in love with Gustav and greatly admires his ability to compose music, she knows that must make a choice: her art or the man she loves.

I didn’t know what to expect of this book. Up to the reading of this book, I had not heard of Alma Mahler. I was not only impressed with the book, I was also impressed with the story of the book’s subject. It takes a strong woman to remain true to herself and her ambitions in a world that would deny her both.

I recommend it.


Why Can’t We Have More Politicians Like Katie Porter?

When someone is elected by their fellow citizens to political office, their job is to serve those who voted for them. Unfortunately, some politicians have forgotten this in favor of automatic re-election or special interest groups who have tempted this politician away from those who voted that person the first place.

Representative Katie Porter (D-California) is the politician that every citizen should have in their corner.

Recently, she excoriated JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and Secretary of Housing Ben Carson for their lack of awareness of the average person on the street.

Both of these conversations are equally frustrating. Mr. Dimon is a member of the 1%. I can’t imagine that it would put him in the poorhouse if he paid his lowest level workers a reasonable living wage. As Housing Secretary, Mr. Carson, should at the very least, be aware of the basic terms that Representative Porter is referring to. The fact that he thought she was talking about cookies says it all.

Why can’t we have more politicians like Katie Porter?

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