Top critical review
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on June 21, 2007
Sarton's last several journals are, in my opinion, not worth the money. That she attempted to continue writing when she had to dictate her thoughts put much too much of a strain upon her, I feel. Sarton was a competent, sometimes excellent, writer in her earlier years, but these final few journals are more painful to read than illuminating. House By the Sea began the decline of quality of her journals, it seemed to me, perhaps due to my frustration with Sarton's apparent inability to comprehend how dangerous allowing Judy Matlack, her longtime lover and companion, to wander about unsupervised was when it was clear to any reasonably perceptive reader that Matlack was so senile that she needed near-constant supervision. Sarton, however, clearly alternated between concern for Matlack and frustration with her that arose from denial of the seriousness of Matlack's condition. In the end, it was quite sad to witness such clear evidence of Sarton's inability to consider realistically the needs of others, which ultimately foreshadowed her eventual inability to stop trying to write when doing so was clearly beyond her sadly diminished capabilities.
The succeeding journals, chronicling Sarton's gradual deterioration and accompanying fury and frustration at her decline, are wrenching and not particularly enlightening unless witnessing a once-effective writer's diminishment intrigues you for some perverse reason.
Stick with Sarton's earlier works, Plant Dreaming Deep or Journal Of a Solitude.