Psyche in a Dress
is a young adult
novel by Francesca Lia Block
, author of the popular Weetzie Bat
. It was published in hardcover in 2006 by HarperCollins
's imprint Joanna Cotler Books
Psyche in a Dress has most of its narration written by the title character, in a bare-bones poetry style with no capital letters and very sparing punctuation. She tells the story of meeting her true love but driving him away for looking upon his face when she was asked not to. From a family whose father used her as a character in obscene movies and a mother who abandoned them, Psyche has to look for love elsewhere, and after her first love leaves she begins searching through all kinds of mythical representations of love. She meets Narcissus. Orpheus. Hades. These "gods" transform her into their own mythical matches. But when going to Hades and loving him almost destroys her, the love of her mother factors in but cannot completely save her. She only begins to understand the fullness of motherly love (and the role a daughter must also play) once she has become a mother herself and has to watch her own daughter repeat the cycle. Psyche begins to understand herself and the roles she and her loved ones have played, and she expresses it in the art she understands: Making movies. This time about joy. The book shows that we all take on roles in our lives, to become something bigger than ourselves . . . but eventually we must come back and define ourselves while expressing the truth of our own Psyche--the soul.
Having a solid understanding of mythology does help to understand this book, but it isn't totally necessary, and it's a great book as long as you can digest very raw poetry-like rendering and can understand that the character's identity--as well as the name she is called--changes depending on which character she's with at the time. (That can get a little confusing.) I highly recommend this emotional, archetype-packed little book to anyone who enjoys reading about women and identity or anyone who loves mythology or the author's other books.