The Book of Beth


Nurse`s Statements Re-admission to Refsnæs.
Alert, lively and daring – quick on the draw with words. A bundle of energy, tricks and ideas. Aggressive and dominating towards the other children. All over the place, especially where last expected. Starved for love – and wraps the entire staff around her finger.
M F (Mary Festersen) Excerpt from the journal
I met Beth in 1983 then a sexworker and a drug addict. Her biological rhythm was the total opposite of mine. She slept all day long and woke up sick, in need of heroin. And then she got dressed, put on makeup for walking the streets. Money earned, a fix taken. And then she slept again. A vulnerable human being. I didn`t know anyone else living such a vulnerable life. We were also exposed to each other. In serious doubts of how we could transform real life into a story.
But in the midst of all this: tragedy, exploitation. The daughter procures money ”voluntarily”, in order to be able to buy beer.” I was so goddamn happy and relished treating them.” But nobody accepts her. Beth does not write the words, the all too transparent words, and it is this that makes her text ”literary”, a literary understatement. All the time it is a question of the child's love, the child's desperate love of her mother and her desperate wish to have that love reciprocated. The whole of Beth's story, on the surface a savage portrayal of her mother, is beneath the level of the text a declaration of love to that callous, emotionally frozen mother.
Excerpt from Is this a human beeing by Bengt Börjesson.