Solstice is really a novel about its two main characters. It is a study of a codependent relationship and how each party deals with the relationship. Sheila Trask is an abuser of drugs and alcohol and also an abuser of Monica Jensen. Sheila indulges in violent mood swings and remains private and secretive throughout the novel, but she insists on Monica’s consistent cheeriness and willingness to share her thoughts and feelings. Because Sheila is so secretive, the reader never really learns what her true feelings are for Monica. However, she manipulates Monica by appearing to be interested in her. She also manipulates Monica by her constant talk of suicide and of the “mirror-ghoul” that stares back at her from the mirror, reminding her of her own mortality. At times, it seems that without Monica, Sheila would kill herself or become violently ill from refusing to take care of herself, but eventually, the reader discovers that the exact opposite is true. Sheila is in control, and it is Monica who is unable to take care of herself.
Although Monica never openly acknowledges the fact, it is clear that Sheila takes more of an interest in her than her husband (or any man) ever did, and that interest is what Monica craves; she vehemently desires to be liked. She thinks of herself as a “golden girl” and frequently recalls her younger days in high school and college, when she was a cheerleader and sorority girl who was very popular. She basks in...
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