When my husband saw me reading “The Woman They Could Not Silence,” he asked if I was reading another book with oppressed women that will have me yelling about the patriarchy and blaming him for toxic masculinity and past struggles… the answer was a resounding “YES!”
If I were to pair this book with a drink, I would start with a slow sipping whiskey as the story unfolds of Elizabeth Packard, a housewife and mother of six, is suddenly unjustly institutionalized by her husband who feels threatened by her intellect, free-thought, and unwillingness to simply believe everything he believes.
This is the kind of book that burns your throat as you read in horror about the horrific conditions and abuse inside the institution and the women who have been committed to keep them in line, called “crazy” to keep anyone from listening. I would pick a robust whiskey with intense aromas, full-flavor, and a powerful character to match the strength of character you find in Elizbeth Packard.
Elizabeth Packard was institutionalized for a period of three years while she fought to demonstrate her sanity in a place that could drive one “insane.” While reading through her battle to be released, you might want to pair this section with a good tequila instead with its unique earthy flavor and alcohol kick. Tequila has that sharp taste that can cause that burning feeling in your throat on the way down, the same burn you will feel as you read about her need to hide her writings and the lengths gone to in order to try and break her spirit.
Because of the length of the story, if you are someone who can’t put a book down, I would pace yourself and instead pair this book with a red wine. Something dark and sweet, that you can sip with each page as you follow her story as she tries to fight for her freedom in a world where she has no rights and no autonomy. Once Elizabeth Packard is able to leave the asylum, her fight doesn’t stop there in a world where women, married women, have little to no rights.
While the story began in the 19th century, the frightening part is how much it still resonates today with the discrediting of women and allegations against their mental health whenever they dare to stand up or react with anger. This book will leave you with a better understanding of what women experienced during that time, and a
reconsideration of the treatment towards
women and mental health now.
Please join us and register for the virtual CWBA Blog Book Club Discussion (with your preferred beverage, of course), on October 6th for the discussion regarding Kate Moore's, The Woman They Could Not Silence: The Shocking Story of a Woman Who Dared to Fight Back.
Niceta Bradburn is an attorney at Harris Family Law firm practicing in Family Law, Dependency & Neglect, and Probate matters. Niceta practices as an attorney, GAL, and CFI, and is a mother of four children.