PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me: A Story (33 1/3)
by Kate Schatz
This enigmatic little love story is loosely based on P. J. Harvey’s album, Rid of Me. Author Schatz obsessed on it for weeks, and spun out this story of psychosis and returning to nature, with each chapter based on a different song from the album. Mary suffers from what may be schizophrenia and a possibly abusive husband. After five years in the hospital, she is pronounced cured, but leaves hubby as soon as he looks the other way. Kathleen loves the moon and her mother, but when mom dies unexpectedly and dad becomes an invalid, her world shrinks to nothing more than dealing with this grunting man and weekly trips to the store. Mary watches Kathleen pass by every week from her hospital room, and then kidnaps her. They retreat to a collapsing cabin and their own internal delusions, and find in each other the worlds they found nowhere else. Kathleen’s reaction to kidnapping? “I’ve always wanted to be kidnapped. It’s like being rescued.”
At one-hundred rather small pages, this book is a quick read and strangely engaging. The cool thing about psychosis is not that the outside world finds it irrational, but that to you, it’s perfectly reasonable. We’re all a bit crazy, but most of us agree on the terms and details and so declare ourselves sane. Mary and Kathleen are lucky; they both disagree with the world at large, but find a perfect harmony in their own heads. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.