"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea."
You th...more"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea."
You think about signs. How it is so easy to miss them, misinterpret them, ignore them, spit in their face. Is it about rebellion? Is it trying to defy the inevitable? If you ignore the whole nations, anguish, tossing part of the bible quote and focus on the selfish, defeatist, lovelorn Yunior and his tales of woe that is This is How You Lose Her, you know that he definitely spat.
“I’m not a bad guy.”
You know that this is probably the one statement that you don’t want to hear from someone you are sleeping with. It’s a garish neon blinking VACANCY sign. It’s doomed. This is how This is How You Lose Her starts and you roll your eyes and wait for the proof. Yunior is a major sucio. It’s right there, in like the 4th sentence of the first story. You cannot deny this, if you knew this man you would hate him on principle.
“ Fuck You for cheating on me. Fuck you for reducing it to the word cheating. As if this were a card game, and you sneaked a look at my hand. Who came up with the term cheating, anyway? A cheater, I imagine. Someone who thought liar was too harsh. Someone who thought devastator was too emotional. The same person who thought, oops, he’d gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Fuck you. This isn’t about slipping yourself an extra twenty dollars of Monopoly money. These are our lives. You went and broke our lives. You are so much worse than a cheater. You killed something. And you killed it when its back was turned.”
Yet you continue to read these stories of Yunior and his exploits and his constant yearning for that one true love. While fucking 3 to 4 woman on the side during each of his relationships. You actually relish in his demise. What makes you continue reading? Is it the second person narrative that you love so much, the inclusion, the self helpy feeling that it brings? Hell Yes, you crave the attention, you want to be part of the cool crowd. You continue.
“Love is so short, forgetting is so long.”
Neruda was a cheater. Uh Huh. This haunts you. You’ve swooned over his words and now they are tinged. It’s not hard to ignore when he gets all “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.” on you, and you know that you are being judgmental and that you should be Freetobeyouandme about it but you feel betrayed.
Then something happens. The Cheater’s Guide to Love. You’ve spent all of the book muttering ‘fuck you, you dirty swine’ and then the call of the dysfunctional man pulls you in. Why are you feeling bad for Yunior? You liked watching karma kick his ass. Now you feel pity. Which, in itself, is a triumph. Who wants to be pitied? Only the pitiful. You get what you deserve. But now, now you watch the demise, physical, emotional, psychological and you want to say it’s okay. You will find love. You will get better and then you read the last paragraph:
“It’s a start—you say to the room. That’s about it. In the months that follow you bend to the work, because it feels like hope, like grace—and because you know in your lying cheater’s heart that sometimes a start is all we ever get.”
And you know.. that cheater or not, you will at some point realize that yes, a start is all we ever get. And you weep. (less)
Gray skies are gonna clear up, Put on a happy face
As a self-proclaimed Pollyanna, I will be the first to admit that I would want to punch you in the f...moreGray skies are gonna clear up, Put on a happy face
As a self-proclaimed Pollyanna, I will be the first to admit that I would want to punch you in the face if you said this to me. What the hell is wrong with a little rain? Huh? You can't be happy if it rains? Fuck you.
You can have your gangnum style and complain about never ever ever ever getting back together again and umm... okay, that's my extent of youth culture... you guys like furbies again, right?
Happy face is old school teen angst. There are no vampires or faeries or dystopian threats... hell... HIGH SCHOOL is a dystopian threat. It is the absolute clear definition of dystopia: "an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives." Can't get much realer than this.
Brush off the clouds and cheer up, Put on a happy face.
Seriously. Fuck you.
Happy face is special in that it gives you the out. It tells you how to beat this. It's all right there in front of you. Believe it or not, the song has it right....
Take off the gloomy mask of tragedy, It's not your style; You'll look so good that you'll be glad Ya' decide to smile!
See? I just told you. DO NOT BE YOURSELF. You will be ridiculed, you will get beat up, you will be lonely and want to die.
You see, I was this thing. I was a miserable a=loaded-gun-won't-set-you-free-so-you-say sixteen year old who wore my Undead t-shirt proudly and played my 1987 UK second issue 3-track 12" vinyl single, also including How Soon Is Now? & Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, Billie Whitelaw image picture sleeve with light blue die cut and I was totally into IT. Where did it get me? Being spit on at Pep Rallys, my friend... do not follow my example.
So, I decided to stick out my noble chin... I decided to wipe off that 'full of doubt' look. I decided to... no offense to the hair colored challenged... go blonde. Literally. I got rid of the Siouxsie Sioux hair color and cut my bangs and found the bleach beat my hair into submission. I even went further.. I found saddle shoes and letterman sweaters and poodle skirts and listened to rockabilly and man DID I EVER SMILE. I slapped on that happy grin! And spread sunshine all over the place, goddammit. And guess what?
People actually bought it. They totally liked the new me. It depressed the hell out of me. Didn't they understand the mockery?
And then... I bought into it. I said, hell... if this is what it takes, then this is what I will be. And I bounced and I giggled and I hello kittied my way through my senior year.
So, I can relate with Happy Face. He gets it. If you are pathetic in your old life, then create a new one. Yes, eventually this will lead to some sort of dissociative identity disorder and you may need sleep hygiene therapy, but maybe by then you will be out of high school and finding a new "society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding."
We can only hope.
And if you're feeling cross and bitterish Don't sit and whine Think of banana split and licorice And you'll feel fine
I remember the first time I read Self-Help and when I picked up Lust and Other Stories. There was this intimidation, this contempt, this other sadness...more I remember the first time I read Self-Help and when I picked up Lust and Other Stories. There was this intimidation, this contempt, this other sadness. I wanted to be this good. I wanted to crawl, to burrow into the reader and make myself known.
Gaitskill's collection creeps in like that... at first I was kind of bored. I wasn't impressed with the beginning stories.. it was what I had been experiencing this entire year with the books that I've chosen to read. Meh. But, with Mirror Ball I began to feel that clenching, that annoying jealousy. With an opening line "He took her soul--though, being a secular-minded person, he didn't think of it that way." I was right back at that growling, mewling MINE stage.
Seriously, this sucks.
I am not a good person, I want to applaud these women, I want to feel some sisterly bonding with them, but I know that if I had the chance, I would so pull their hair and scratch at their eyes.
I am the effaced soul on the musician's floor, I am the agonized face, I am the monsters, the demons, the Alzheimer's, the malaria ridden day laborer, the stupid trysts.
What is love? The song suggests that ‘oh baby don’t hurt me’ so does that mean is love about pain? I think that this is probably not the impression yo...more What is love? The song suggests that ‘oh baby don’t hurt me’ so does that mean is love about pain? I think that this is probably not the impression you want to give… unless you are into that sort of thing, which most women 15-65 seem to be if this is so popular.
Well, when I was young, I used to think that this represented love.
I’m not sure that that is so healthy either, but I had a ton of them.. they were my ‘go to’ I guess…
When I google ‘Love is’ I get this comic strip… which I know that I’ve run into before but always brushed off for hokeyness. Now, are we so disillusioned by love that we need to reconstruct love into something like this?
Daniel Handler (a.k.a Lemony Snicket, but don’t think of him as Lemony when you read this because it will throw you off kilter) has written a love story. It has 17 parts to it all described with adverbs. You can love immediately, obviously, arguably, particularly, briefly, soundly, frigidly, collectively, symbolically, clearly, naturally, wrongly, truly, not particularly, often, barely and judgmentally. I could have done with maybe 13 or 14 but the reason this didn’t rate higher for me was that by 15 I was ready to be done with love. I didn’t care about love being often, bare or judgmental.
The stories seem like separate entities until you start to notice characters drifting in and out and then you try to place them in the timeline, which is also something I don’t recommend doing because it will give you a headache. Just go with it. Take the ranting, the stream of consciousness, half-truths, and off the wall declarations. Take them and digest them and maybe follow it up with a Tanqueray and tonic because after some of these, you may need it.
“They say when you’re really in love, the world becomes gossamer and gorgeous, but in my experience---the world gets grimy, and the love object is in stark relief from the surroundings. This is love, a pretty thing on an ugly street, and why wouldn’t you pick it up if it appeared in a cab?”
“A butter bird is, butter shaped into the shape of a decorative bird, but the point is, why is there cruelty? Why do people ask other people to do impossible things? Why behave this way? Why is there mean, when there are better things than mean, love particularly?”
“This is love, to sit with someone you’ve known forever in a place you’ve been meaning to go, and watching as their life happens to them until you stand up and it’s time to go. You don’t care about yours. Why should it change, the love you feel, no matter how death goes?”
“This is love, the plain truth once you get inside. Like a peacock, we all show off with the plumage. Come in and watch us make it! But then it’s just the same story, sugar and spice all spun up. We’re all mostly salt water. Love is candy from a stranger, but it’s candy you’ve had before and it probably won’t kill you.”
“Love is keeping that symbolic focus, each kiss crucial, each step a landmark. I could have read down a list of every important landmark in America and told you what they all stood for symbolically, what it meant if they were to be destroyed.”
“You love once and then maybe not again. Not on a day like this. The rain, the rain, the rain. You can’t even hear it outside the window but still it’s a sad thing. Rain, the grade school teachers say, makes the trees and flowers grow, but we’re not trees and flowers, and so many grade school teachers are single.”
So, this is love… and if I had to choose, I would say I like loving soundly, wrongly, and obviously best. And I love this.
Whoa whoa whoa, oooh oooh Whoa whoa whoa, oooh oooh Oh baby, don't hurt me Don't hurt me no more (oooh, oooh)
I love a good short story. For awhile, it was my favorite genre (if you consider it one, it is, right?) I love that I can take 10 minutes to maybe ½ a...moreI love a good short story. For awhile, it was my favorite genre (if you consider it one, it is, right?) I love that I can take 10 minutes to maybe ½ an hour and invade someone else’s space. I could be sitting on a park bench but really I’m sitting in a café in Paris or I’m waiting at the dentist but really I’m a jealous husband sitting in my living room watching my wife and her blind friend flirt it up.
Voyeurism in quickie form.
Lorrie Moore, Susan Minot, Raymond -freaking-Carver, Hemingway… these were my afternoon delights. (I’m a nerd, I know.)
The Fieldnor Press sent me this collection from E. Thomas Finan. Free book!!! My pupils dilated, my heart sped up, I needed my fix. What I’m not sure of is… am I supposed to write a positive review now? Did they just buy my vote? Will the author yell at me if I don’t like it? Oh, the angst.
The Other Side is a collection of 7 stories where the characters are experiencing some sort of awakening. Or not. There are metamorphoses, sometimes.
I think the big hit in the collection is Lucy di Sartoria. I think that this is my least favorite. It deals with infidelity and image and I felt the characters were hollow. Maybe that’s what Finan was going for, but I don’t work that way. I need to have some sort of empathy in order to block out all the crap around me, otherwise the sounds of video games and fighting children and doors banging infiltrates and the book goes down, maybe for days. You really only have one shot with me for a short story to really be successful. I have to be able to ignore all things domestic and lose myself in the plot for however long a short story takes me. That’s part of the appeal, right? In this story, I really didn’t care that Lucy was bored and lonely. To me, she was a vapid model who married to help solidify her place in society. So what if she had some sort of epiphany and sought out whatever… It didn’t take. Sorry.
The other stories were a bit more successful. I really enjoyed Motley Black. The character reminded me of a friend with his clever, caustic view of the world. His bus ride from Los Angeles to Key West, his only friends being Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy and Foley, the obnoxious bus buddy who won’t leave him alone. This one made me smirk and nod my head in understanding.
Billy Stevens is 28, The Tie that binds and 'Dunes of White Elephants (yep, I got the reference) were fleshed out but somewhat formulaic and again detached. Stories of paths not taken, regret, yadda yadda yadda. No, that’s mean. They were good, but they didn’t stick with me.
I enjoyed An Aria of Windrows because it felt like sentences you would scratch out on napkins or the back of receipts and then compile later to meld with one theme. It could be pretentious at times but it was still a nice read. Probably my favorite of the bunch. I liked this paragraph a lot.
"How much goes into making something. Each potato chip’s a grand symphony of life. How much has woven together to get that potato chip to your hand. One might say it’s the work of a universe’s lifetime. The dirt, the nutrients, the seeding, the generations of men behind that one hand that operated the combine..the hand that sticks itself into the plastic glove at the actory..the hand at the factory for the plastic glove..behind the delivery truck..the wheels forging hot..so much, so much.. The list’s as long as it is hackneyed. Everything’s like that.”
I have to say that usually the quality of the writing is not something that I pick at. If a story draws me in, I could care less if it was grammatically correct (since I rarely am.) It just needs to flow. In some of these stories, I would be jarred out of the plot by an awkward sentence like a repeating of a word or a particularly odd phrasing. It may just be me. How my internal voice works. I don’t know.
Overall, I think this is a good example of a debut. Will he be a ‘new voice in American letters’ like the back blurb says? Perhaps. (less)
You know what. I don’t really have much to say about this. Except the whole hype thing and that for the first time EVER I was reading this at the same...more
You know what. I don’t really have much to say about this. Except the whole hype thing and that for the first time EVER I was reading this at the same time like 4 of my friends were reading it and hell, I’ve been in book clubs where that doesn’t happen. Score another one for hype.
This book made me sad. Not because I was really invested in the characters, no... it was a purely self-centered sadness. I’m not alone in thinking that we (born 1960-1975) are a disillusioned generation right? That we had all these high hopes/inspiration/dreams at one point and then either drugs/greed/suicide got in the way? Yes, some of us pulled out, went, and made something of themselves and Yay! Seriously, I’m ecstatic for them.
But, aren’t most of us pretty much disgruntled, disillusioned, mopey? (Again, maybe it’s me.) Yes, we make the best of it. We are snarky and we still play our Dead Kennedys and are Fugazi and even though we’re not what we had hoped to be, we get by, (right?)
This book made me sad because these people who were excited by Clinton taking office and who liked analog sounds… they did make something out of that disillusionment and in turn, found some sort of peace. I guess that’s fiction for you.
I’m also sad because my favorite chapter was the one about Rob. The one who didn’t make it. I’m going to psychoanalyze the hell out of that one for the next few weeks.
And the PowerPoint chapter. I absolutely loved that chapter. Call me hokey, it’s okay. I would love to read PowerPoint journals all day long. And…I love Lincoln.
How could you not?
I am surprised that this won a Pulitzer though… What does that mean? Whatever... it reminded me of a time when I felt the whole world was mine and 40 was a long way off and that's why I'm giving it 4 stars.
I'm done! I'M DONE! I'm done. Done. I'm done.I'mdone. I'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdo...moreI'm done! I'M DONE! I'm done. Done. I'm done.I'mdone. I'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdone DONEI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdone(not really, but I can't read the last 10 pages, it's too much, it's killing me. I'm sorry, I'm a fake, a hack, a poseur, but I tried. I just don't get it. I don't seeit.I'mdoneI'mdone I'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdone (really... I picture Lily Briscoe as asian reporter trisha takanawa, I'm that base, that dumb, that... not like all of you who love this book)I'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdone I'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdone (I really really wanted to like it, does that account for anything? I know, I don't like Coetzee and Anderson and Diaz, maybe I don't belong with you all, which of these things is not like the others? ME.) I'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdone DONE!!I'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdone (So... they got to the fucking lighthouse. So, the son hates the dad and loves the mom, so the mom is --again,sorry-- annoying, so the dad is a spoiled brat so the other kids really don't get that much air time unless they die or live to actually MAKE it to the lighthouse (poor Cam) so these people are dull! ((sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry))'mdoneI'mdonevI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdone I'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdone.(I have to admit, that I enjoyed reading all of your raving reviews much more than reading this book..thank you for that. It was much better.)I'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdonevI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdoneI'mdone
I'm like that sad clown with the red balloon at the end of a pretentious french film cliche.
At some time between 35 and 40 I started on this downward (?) spiral of crime shows. I was never one to really watch them and couldn’t understand the...more At some time between 35 and 40 I started on this downward (?) spiral of crime shows. I was never one to really watch them and couldn’t understand the appeal, but after my fourth child I caught a Law and Order marathon and was hooked. It moved on from there… as did the spin offs and then came CSI and all its iterations and then Criminal Minds and oh hell, Dexter… love that guy…. It got to the point that my children would get that Dr. Phil look and ask me why I watched these shows. I really don’t know. But, it’s not like there isn’t an audience… BIO is totally feeding my addiction with I dated a Psycho’ and ‘Monstresses’ and “Bad Husbands’ and ‘Casanova Killers’... Christ.. stop me now.
It is not something I’m particularly proud of.
True Crime books were never a big draw though. I often wondered why… maybe my escapism was limited to the cathode colored pictures and not the images that I could conjure in my own twisted mind. I guess I didn’t want to go there. I’ve read In Cold Blood, I’ve read Helter Skelter… I GUESS I want to read a lot more than I thought.. I have quite a few 'I want to read'books from this list on GR….
Maybe I’m (d)evolving.
My Dark Places is rubbernecking at its best. I mean the first line: “Some kids found her.” Is that how he thinks when people ask about his mom? First blush? ‘Some kids found her.’ I totally get that. I love it. Ellroy was 10 when his mom was murdered. He was in his 40s when he began to deal with it. I get that too. I think that you grow up with one set of memories of your parents and when you become a parent you start to see that memories are easily manipulated. Not that Ellroy has kids..no, he just got sober and thought ‘what the fuck, time to deal.’ Or at least that’s what I assume happened.
“ I lived in two worlds. Compulsive fantasies ruled my inner world. The outside world intruded all too often. I never learned to hoard my thoughts and hold them for private moments. My two worlds clashed continually. I wanted to crash the outside world. I wanted to wow the outside world with my sense of drama. I knew that access to my thoughts would make people love me. It was a common teenage conceit. I wanted to take my thoughts public. I possessed exhibitionist flair---but lacked stage presence and control of my effects. I came off as a desperate clown.”
Ellroy is one fucked up muthafuckah. But, man is he elegant. He gives us ‘just the facts, ma’am’ and then switches to hardcore ‘this is your life, Leroy Ellroy’ back again to objective timelines… but the whole time you can feel him start to unravel.. start to see that what he thought was real was just the ‘inner world’ that molded him. His first love was Elizabeth Short. He played serial killer and savior within the same fantasy. He biked to famous kill spots around Hollywood. He went through a Nazi fascist phase, he chewed on prophylhexedrine cotton wads, lived in parks and ran from voices only he could hear. AGAIN. FUCKED UP. Yes, it’s tragic. But, he comes off as stronger for it and damn…, I love me a good dysfunctional man.
What I loved most were the interludes between each section. These little notes to his mother. These are what would keep me coming back. Making me believe there is something worth saving.
“ A cheap Saturday night took you down. You died stupidly and harshly and without the means to hold your own life dear. Your run to safety was a brief reprieve. You brought me into hiding as your good-luck charm. I failed you as a talisman—so I stand now as your witness. Your death defines my life. I want to find the love we never had and explicate it in your name. I want to take your secrets public. I want to burn down the distance between us. I want to give you breath."
About and around 19 years ago, I used to go to TT’s in Cambridge, MA on Mondays for Stone Soup Poetry. Maurice used to read during open mike and Broth...moreAbout and around 19 years ago, I used to go to TT’s in Cambridge, MA on Mondays for Stone Soup Poetry. Maurice used to read during open mike and Brother Blue would perform and after awhile you’d get to know all the ‘regulars’---There was the really cute quiet guy who totally copped the beatnik look and would madly scribble in his notebook while others performed--only to shatter on stage. I’m talking complete, make-yourself-hoarse kind of raging, spitting his words out, knocking down chairs… Quite a freakin’ sight actually. Then there was the gypsy woman who would light candles on stage and sit in lotus position and recite poems for the dead. Then there were the lumberjack brothers. (Stay with me, I’ll get to the point) They showed up each Monday, ordered whatever was on tap, and sit back to watch the show. These guys weren’t what you’d imagine coming to Stone Soup, but they were cool. They’d talk to Maurice and were encouraging. They always had their t-shirts and flannel tucked into their jeans… yeah, our own little family. Well, one night the brothers got on stage and delivered this song-poem… I wish I had it…One brother would be the human beat box, the other chanted the words… I can only remember the chorus….
So, yeah… that’s what I found myself repeating while I read this book. (See? Point.) I barely registered the Columbine Shooting. I did see Elephant and Bowling for Columbine so, there’s that… I remember the CNN footage of kids streaming out of the building with their hands on their heads, the boy that pushed himself out the window. Those images are branded and pretty much sum it up for me. This book, well, I can’t express… no, I probably can… I think I just want to stop analyzing my emotions throughout this book.
Cullen’s writing is to the point, graphic when necessary, journalistic most of the time. Makes sense….Yet, he can draw out the story and plant the pictures in your head with amazing grace. You get it. You get that you’ll never ever get it.
The Hare Psychopathy Checklist:
Factor1: Personality "Aggressive narcissism" Glibness/superficial charm Grandiose sense of self-worth Pathological lying Cunning/manipulative Lack of remorse or guilt Shallow affect Callous/lack of empathy Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
Factor2: Case history "Socially deviant lifestyle". Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom Parasitic lifestyle Poor behavioral control Promiscuous sexual behavior Lack of realistic long-term goals Impulsivity Irresponsibility Juvenile delinquency Early behavior problems Revocation of conditional release Traits not correlated with either factor Many short-term marital relationships Criminal versatility
The list is frightening. As a mom, even more so… I can’t even imagine. Should I?? I don’t know, but I know that my heart breaks for those families. One of them quoted Shakespeare in one of the Basement Tapes (oh yeah, I googled the shit out of Columbine after reading this--rubberneck…..) “Good wombs have borne bad sons”--I can’t…. even go there.
So, I take the analytical approach. I’m uncomfortable around all the religious fervor brought on by this. I’m not saying it’s wrong or right or anything. I’m just saying that the images and words surrounding ‘God’s will’ made me squirm. Especially this line, spoken by a pastor:
He shared a vision his youth pastor had received while ministering to the Bernalls: “I saw Cassie, and I saw Jesus, hand in hand. Andy they had just gotten married. They had just celebrated their marriage ceremony. And Cassie kind of winked over at me, like, “I’d like to talk, but I’m so much in love.” Her greatest prayer was to find the right guy. Don’t you think she did?
Okay. I’m not sure that would be of comfort to me. And I’m saying that this is a subjective example of the religion kickback, this is all me---being kind of weirded out by that paragraph. Cullen does this well… plays on this. He can be snarky and he can deliver the facts...letting your own momentum carry you away. It’s creepy.
83% blame the parents of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (still) 100% of school shooters have been male (at the time the study was completed) 93% planned their attack 98% had suffered a lost or failure they perceived as serious 81% of the shooters had confided their intentions. More than half told at least two people.
I can’t recall ever being afraid of a school shooting. We didn’t have metal detectors and there were loudly announced death threats almost daily.. This just wasn’t on my radar. But, to study these two kids and the psychopath checklist and realize that so many of what was released by the media about these guys (they were loners, they were Goths, they were targeting the jocks, they had a trench coat mafia) was false… I could probably name at least two people that would qualify. Again, creepy.
In his journal, one of the guys said “ I want to leave a lasting impression on this world.” Done. But, I’m not sure in what way. I guess perplexed is another emotion that I can add to the list. (less)
Tell me to do it muffin ass …. to rest the lust of a loaftomb! …. Barnamum Pierogi lug!
Meet Lionel Essrog. Viable Guessfrog, Lionel Deathclam, Liabl...more Tell me to do it muffin ass …. to rest the lust of a loaftomb! …. Barnamum Pierogi lug!
Meet Lionel Essrog. Viable Guessfrog, Lionel Deathclam, Liable Guesscog, Ironic Pissclam. Lionel is a Minna Man. A full fledged Hardly Boy… A freakshow… A member of Motherless Brooklyn.
I love Lionel. Not in my special groupie way. Hold your hats here; I might be growing as a person. Nah. I just really love Lionel’s brain. Peirogi kumquat sushiphone! Domestic marshmallow ghost! Insatiable Mallomar!
Did I mention Lionel has Tourette’s? I’ve only met one person with Tourette’s and he wasn’t as lyrical as Lionel. He was a neurology resident. He used to yip and scurry down the hall of the hospital. You always knew when he was on the floor. One time I was in the room with him and he squirted some of that hand soap onto his palm and mid squirt his Tourette’s kicked in and some of the foamy soap ended up in a nurse’s hair ala Something about Mary and we didn’t tell her. (We don’t like nurses very much.) Anyway, that’s my Tourette’s story… on to Lionel and the Minna Men.
Motherless Brooklyn wasn’t one of those books that I couldn’t put down, but it was one that will stick with me. Not just because it gave me such lines as Trend the decreased! Mend the retreats! or spread by means it finds, fed in springs by mimes, bled by mangy spies or an insight to what living with Tourette’s might be like but because it’s so human. It’s gritty and what I imagine Brooklyn to be like. I don’t picture quaint neighborhoods, I see steel and dirt and warehouses and underpasses and guys hanging out on stoops with greased back hair and… (I’m not saying this is accurate, I’m saying this is what I see and this is what Lethem gifts me with.) The Minna Men, 4 bedraggled orphans who are taken under by Frank Minna, a two bit hustlin’, Philip Marlowe wannabe. There’s Tony, the quintessential mobster in the making. Danny, the too-cool-for-school b-ball player who is more attitude than words. Gilbert, the brawny, mouthy one and then, there’s Lionel. I loved the sense of these guys. The classic Lost Boys.
Lethem does a great job of fleshing these guys out, taking emotions like guilt and concepts like conspiracies and waxing touretticly poetic (yeah, so I made that up…sue me):
Is guilt a species of Tourette’s? Maybe. It has a touchy quality, I think, a hint of sweaty fingers. Guilt wants to cover all the bases, be everywhere at once, reach into the past to tweak, neaten, and repair. Guilt like Tourettic utterance flows uselessly, inelegantly from one helpless human to another, contemptuous of perimeters, doomed to me mistaken or refused on delivery. Guilt, like Tourette’s, tries again, learns nothing. And the guilty soul, like the Tourettic, wears a kind of clown face---the Smokey Robinson kind, with tear tracks underneath.
Conspiracies are a version of Tourette’s syndrome, the making and tracing of unexpected connections a kind of touchiness, an expression of the yearning to touch the world, kiss it all over with theories, pull it close. Like Tourette’s, all conspiracies are ultimately solipsistic, sufferer and conspirator or theorist overrating his centrality and forever rehearsing a traumatic delight in reaction, attachment and causality, in roads out from the Rome of self. The second gunman on the grassy knoll wasn’t part of a conspiracy—we Touretters know this to be true. He was ticking, imitating the action that had startled and allured him, the shots fired. It was just his way of saying, Me too! I’m alive! Look here! Replay the film!
I don’t want to get too into the plot; I don’t feel that that’s what makes this book so great...the writing, the wordplay, that’s where it’s at. (less)
It was one of those days. The kids flooded the bathroom, the cat vomited on my carpet, a toothbrush got lodged down the drain. One of those days. It w...moreIt was one of those days. The kids flooded the bathroom, the cat vomited on my carpet, a toothbrush got lodged down the drain. One of those days. It was not a day to start a Sarah Vowell book about the beginnings of Hawaii… No, not today. Today, I grabbed the bottle of Sangria and sat down with this.
Again, I have to thank Goodreads for introducing me to Bells (shout out to Bells! Woot! Woot!) who introduced me to Pablo. Imagine living my whole life and not knowing Pablo!! The horror!
There is a reason that middle aged women find abstinent shiny vampires attractive. We are tired. We have lost the inspiration and cling to the notion of everlasting love like spanx. We are what we are. I will admit that I was duped by that Edward. With all his “Do you truly believe that you care more for me than I do for you?" crap? Yes, we are faulty. We want to hear that stuff. We also want to hear that you loved Duran Duran and that Say Anything was your favorite movie of all time. We clear? Good.
Where was I? Oh, yeah, pouring another glass of Sangria and talking about Pablo. Okay, Pablo with his baldness and his Alfred Hitchcockian body… Pablo would take Edward down. No stake needed, my friend.
Oh, my dearest, I could not love you so! But when I hold you I hold everything that is--- Sand, time, the tree of the rain,
Everything is alive so that I can be alive Without moving I can see it all In your life I see everything that lives.
Hellz to the Yeah! That’s the stuff! Whoo!! Pablo Pablo he’s our man! Okay, he’s Matilda Uruttia’s man, but eh… semantics. Imagine! 100 love sonnets! For one woman! Swoon. And, it’s not like you have to look for lines like the one above. It’s every-frickin’-page. I just fall deeper and deeper. I drink more and my eyes water.
"Yes, you are exactly my brand of heroin."
Oh, Eddie… silly you. Give it up. Go away.
This is part of Pablo's dedication: "When I set this task for myself, I knew very well that down the right sides of sonnets, with elegant discriminating taste, poets of all times have arranged rhymes that sound like silver, or crystal, or cannon fire. But--with great humility--I made these sonnets out of wood: I gave them the sound of that opaque pure substance, and this is how they should reach your ears. … Now that I have declared the foundations of my life, I surrender this century to you: wooden sonnets that rise only because you gave them life.”
Can you imagine living with that? We all crave that crazy new found love feeling, right? Be honest.. There’s nothing like that rush… but imagine a full grown, fleshed out, downright dedication of life. Suddenly, it’s not about the adrenaline… it’s about the stamina.
Pablo divides his sonnets into four sections: Morning, Afternoon, Evening, and Night. And isn’t that the kicker.. The words so powerful that you feel each time, you age with him, you are his day. Lucky, lucky woman, that Matilda.
Morning: I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair. silent and starving, I prowl through the streets. Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.
Afternoon: So that I am like a scorched rock that suddenly sings when you are near, because it drinks the water you carry from the forest, in your voice
Evening: I need the light of your energy, I looked around, devouring hope. I watched the void without you that is like a house, nothing left but tragic windows.
Night: No one else, Love, will sleep in my dreams, you will go, We will go together, over the waters of time. No one else will travel through the shadows with me, Only you, evergreen, ever sun, ever moon.
Your hands have already opened their delicate fists And let their soft drifting signs drop away; Your eyes closed like two gray wings, and I move
After, following the folding water you carry, that carries Me away. The night, the word, the wind spin out their destiny. Without you , I am your dream, only that, and that is all.
It’s hard to write a review of Pablo without totally quoting Pablo. You have to experience him, I feel like I’m cheating with this one. I will end with just this: I hope everyone finds their Pablo… I hope everyone opens their eyes and sees their Pablo.
I was only 3 when Patty Hearst showed up on TV toting a semi automatic weapon looking bewildered and stylish in a ¾ length leather belted coat. Do I r...moreI was only 3 when Patty Hearst showed up on TV toting a semi automatic weapon looking bewildered and stylish in a ¾ length leather belted coat. Do I remember this? Hell no, I was three, but later… you know when I was like eight or nine and I would think it was so cool that she was brainwashed---what an interesting word--- and I’d have Barbie kidnap Skipper and force her to drop her frumpy ways and really live the lie…, I mean life. Sorry.
So, what does that have to do with this? Well, I guess you could say that I was intrigued with the whole idea of Stockholm Syndrome way before I knew it had a name. Just imagine becoming emotionally attached to people that held you hostage. Isn’t that a bit fucked up? Duh. (As my 4 year old would say)
So, Bel Canto, while the characters and events are mostly fictionalized, was based on an actual hostage situation in Peru in 1996. Where 72 people men were held up in the Japanese Ambassador’s home for 126 days. I must have been living under a rock, because I do not remember this… you think that something like this would have stuck, you know? I’m sure I was too wrapped up in my glee that Judge Judy was now being syndicated. Whoo.
Can you imagine living with terrorists for 4 and ½ months? My god, I can’t imagine that the same level of fear is maintained. I would think that you would start to develop a relationship with these kids (yes, they were basically children) and start to feel that this is what your life has become. And so it goes in Bel Canto , these characters, hostages and terrorists are introduced systematically throughout the beginning of the ordeal and Patchett does a good job of fleshing them out and getting us attached. To a point. I think that this is one of those books where your opinion of it will vary depending on where you are in your life. I can see this book leaving different impressions on someone who maybe has just found new love and someone who is jaded by relationships. Moreover, I think that this could determine just how much you liked this book. I’ve teetered between 2, 3 and 4 starts in just the few days since I’ve finished it.
This is most definitely a chick lit book. You’ve got the Soprano who has men falling at her feet (almost literally) every time she belts one out, you’ve got the young idealists who, of course, are beautiful and destined for a tragic outcome… and you’ve got the older, more elegant group of men, pining for love lost and all that. Something for every taste, I suppose.
The appeal of a good book is how long and hard it stays with you. When I finished this, I was eager to share the story with my friends and family but as the days wore on, the shine was lost and I started to see the faults and the hackneyed plot. I miss the first day when I was caught up in the story and lamenting the outcome.
I can’t really express how much this book affected me. I was thinking I might just skip the review thingy and just leave it as ‘holy shit’ and be done...moreI can’t really express how much this book affected me. I was thinking I might just skip the review thingy and just leave it as ‘holy shit’ and be done with it. Of course, I can’t do that. It’s been 3 days since I finished it and I find myself going back and rereading lines and calling up scenes. Why? Because these characters are better than me and I live in retrospect. These stories pull at my gut and bring me back to times where ‘shoulda’ and ‘maybe if’ exist even though I know I can never go back and undo what has happened. Those events and my actions are a part of me. They are noxious memories that cannot be candy coated. My bad.
Maybe I am a stereotype. One that writers can hone in on and know that I am where the $$$ is at. I seem to be drawn to a certain classification. Motherless-child-of-cancer-who-has-many-regrets (read: Catholic Guilt)-and-is-stunted-therefore-never-learning-how-to-be-a-real-grownup! Lorrie Moore, Susan Minot, Sonya Sones …they nail it. Now I can add Julie Orringer to the list. She captures the little girl who is strong when she has every reason not to be. She empowers these girls. Not all are part of the above classification. Some are just young girls thrown into situations that shape them.. Show how fierce they can be. I so admire this. This was so not me. I was invisible. My mom was dying and I ignored it. I fought with her, I didn’t listen to her medical updates, I turned up my radio when she was crying in the next room. I was angry that her illness took over my life. I was forced to babysit and cook dinner and clean up. I was 12 and hiding outside until after dark so I wouldn’t have to deal with the sighs of pain or the blank look in her face. I was 13 and staying over at a friend’s house, pretending that I was a normal girl with a normal life. I was 14 and wretching as I cleaned her hair out of the drain. What a bitch.
The girls in these stories are who I wish I had been. Helena in ‘What We Save’ who watches her mom shrink away and assumes the role of caregiver. Mira, the strong artist with the supermodel cousin in ‘When She is Old and I am Famous’ who doubts her talents yet still doesn’t pretend to be someone other than who she is. Ella in ‘Pilgrims’-- silent yet always seeing, always aware even when her parents are grabbing onto whatever fad might help them. (I was 15 and being dragged to church to pray when we had never really prayed before and what the hell would God do now?) Maddy in ‘The Isabel Fish’ -oh, Maddy, you might just be my favorite.. With your inner monologue--such perception!
I was 17, leaving home as soon as the diploma was in my sweaty hands. Running away seemed the best choice. I hid behind a thin wall of pretend adulthood. Set my own rules, see what I want to see, no silicone breasts or wigs or bottles upon bottles of medications set out with such reverence. Cancer dropped from my vocabulary.
I was 18 and my mother was nothing more than a skeleton. In the 5 months since I had moved she had withered. I couldn’t look her in the eye. I couldn’t say I was sorry. I couldn’t admit that I was so very wrong in the way I treated her.
These girls… they are incredible and I thank Julie for putting them to paper, fleshing them out, giving me a chance to know them and pretend I had chosen a different path. (less)
There should be one of those button options on GR that states this review has been hidden due to hormonal, maybe not so justified, incoherent rants… c...moreThere should be one of those button options on GR that states this review has been hidden due to hormonal, maybe not so justified, incoherent rants… click here to view
Because that’s what you’re about to get.
David Lurie is a playah. In the full urban dictionary sense of the word.
A male who is skilled at manipulating ("playing") others, and especially at seducing women by pretending to care about them, when in reality they are only interested in sex….A certain class of low-rent, slack-jawed fuckups has decided that backstabbing and misogyny are totally radical, so the word is sometimes used as a compliment or term of endearment between male friends, as in the greeting "what's up, player?".
Maybe others got a sense of woefulness and redemption and even thought that he might have ‘learned’ from his ‘disgrace’ and all that shit. Not me. This book incited this---rage in me. Believe, I was knocked on my ass by it. My feminist instincts aren’t usually this easily inflamed. I tend to dole out my hatred in a neatly fashioned, equal rights, sort of way. So, why can’t I get over this?
Maybe I should give kudos to Coetzee for bringing this character so vividly to life---too bad I have such a hard time distinguishing him from the author. I don’t know if I can read anything else by him. I’m sort of lost in the disgust right now. I’m not saying it’s right. That’s the whole point of a rant, right? Just let it flow, man.
Was David supposed to be redeemed? Did making him a scholar, a thinker, let him off? Because he cared for his daughter as he thought a father should—is this supposed to make him a worthy person? Because he could see what he did---clearly---because he could dissect it---were we just supposed to say ‘Oh, it’s okay, he knows where his evil lies… no biggie.’
He is swarmy. He deserved everything he got. He is superficial and cares only about his legacy. He is lofty enough to believe himself to be Byronesque (don’t EVEN get me started.) Where does he get off thinking he’s doing these women a favor? He praises his daughter for being a strong woman in S. Africa, yet his first description is as follows:
“For a moment he does not recognize here. A year has passed and she has put on weight. Her hips and breasts are now (he searches for the best word) ample.”
Then he goes on to call her ‘sturdy’—‘A solid woman, embedded in her new life.’ Does that sound like he’s praising? Sounds like a judgment to me. And not a flattering one. And then there’s ‘poor Bev Shaw’ and even his downfall, his own Teresa: “Her name is Melanie Isaacs, from his Romantics course. Not the best student but not the worst either: clever enough, but unengaged.” Man, can he dole out the compliments.
And the whole issue of race relations? How dare he think he could pass judgment on how people like Petrus presented themselves. How dare he take offense at Petrus’s sense of what is right and wrong when he’s throwing around his own ‘lofty’ assessments of women. Get over yourself, already.
I think that his ‘disgrace’ is just a cop out. I don’t believe for one minute that he actually felt he did any wrong. He’s spineless and deserves everything he got and much much more.
Because the writing is well done, just because of that, actually. I’ll give it 3 stars… I know, I know, I should step back, appreciate the insight and all.
I’ve seen too many real life examples of this twat. He can go to Hell.
I don’t know about you, (really, I don’t) but when I was little, I was one of those kids that LOVED finding stuff. Especially if it was on the ground,...moreI don’t know about you, (really, I don’t) but when I was little, I was one of those kids that LOVED finding stuff. Especially if it was on the ground, with a few shoe prints embedded in it, maybe torn, OOH! Gum wrappers! Anything shiny set off a Pavlovian response and I’d scamper towards it gleefully. Fastened to a gutter? No problem. Sticky? Bring it on. Drifting across a busy street? Set me free.
Now, my Mom… Oh, yeah.. Mom. I think I gave her a mini cardiac infarction every time I dropped her hand and lunged for one of my treasures. She would try to pull me away, slap my hand, scream. It didn’t matter… no one was getting between me and that beer bottle cap. She’d find me crouched over a used scratch ticket digging away the unscratched areas with dirty fingernails. She’d dig through my pockets and find crumpled receipts, pigeon feathers, one time she knocked me over trying to stop me from picking up a used condom (it looked like a balloon!), okay, for that, I thanked her later.
This continued on through high school and somewhat through my time in Boston. I would chase down papers and read torn term papers completed by Harvard students. ‘Move out’ day was like a holiday for me. Boxes of stuff left out on the street! I could just have my pick!
In New York I met my match. There were actually people who did this STUFF for a living!!! They’d set up ratty old blankets on Second Avenue and hawk their wares. These people were hard core. They actually went trash hunting. We’d see baseball gloves and old photographs, used journals and books with the covers ripped off. Maurice would always try to pull me away (he had witnessed a few ‘move out’ holidays) but I’d linger and then the seller would try to talk me up. ‘Come on… look here. This dude is naked!’ (The poor man) Then Guiliani came along and my fun was seriously curbed. I had to go back to finding my own treasures and since I’d taken a health class or two, I wasn’t so enthused to pick up a dog eared composition book that had survived a rainstorm (barely)
Now, I’m old and have children and I think the latent germophobe gene has emerged. If one of my kids gets all saucer-eyed over a muddy tennis ball, I’m on their ass quicker than a wink. The Purell is out and I’m my Mother, screeching out the virtues of cleanliness making references to godliness and such. I carry wet wipes with me and love the sound of a street sweeper early in the morning. What happened to me?
Luckily, I came across ‘Found’ It has given me back that joy of unearthing relics and creating lives out of them. Seriously. That’s what I thought I was doing. I was Indiana-motherfucking-Jones!
But, DAMN, why didn’t I think of it? Noooo, some hipsters came across the idea to compile these and make a whole magazine out of it! Then one book, then more! I coulda been…
Whatever. This book was fun. I needed fun. It had hate letters left on cars: ‘Thanks to you, my handicapped wife could not get into our house. I hope you die on the way back to Michigan. Redwings Suck. Fuck you!!!’ and ‘Inconsiderate must come to the minds of all that think of you’ and ‘Curtesy Notice: There will Be a funeral Wensday held at the Hells Angels CluB house. We woulD greatly appreciate your parking space for out of town guests. Thank you Frisco HellsAngels”
There are To Do lists! To Do Turn in library books Find out about college Mail Dads Shit Pay bills in advance Write Crystal Hide Guns Pack Get medication Do taxes Sew PC up Change adresses Pay Columbia bill
And To Do Email Corey Introduce him to lesbians Continue to convince self that I’m not in love w/ him
You can’t make this shit up. Okay, you can… but whatever, they’re still fun.
1. Suck hard and light bowl on fire until chamber is filled with white smoke 2. Exhale 1st Hit 3. Lock valve at intake 4. Relax. Tell a story 5. Unlock valve at intake 6. Clear chamber 7. Repeat iF Necessary 8. Make Food!!!!
You fuck up you always fuck up your a fucker just like all the other fuckers you call fucker you are a fuck up you always try but you always fuck up try harder it just takes longer just to make the fuck up time more suspenseful you always fuk up you alwaysfuckl up what have you done good what haven’t you fucked up nothing you fuck up everything you are a fuck up I love you I can’t get rid of you but what do you do with a fuck up nothing because they always fuck up because you are a fuck up you always are a fuck up because you are a fuck up fuckup being a fuck up and fuck up.
Love Letters! Dear Delane, You and I are just friends. That’s the way I wish to remain. I like you but only as a friend I would be happy if this doesn’t effect our bond--as friends Please understand it is not because your black. It’s not because your not handsome enough it’s just because you and I are friends. And that’s it. The reason you can’t be my boyfrient is because I am not attract to you as you are to me. To be honest, I just want us to be friends that’s all. It’s your choice wheather you want to be my friend or not. Julia.
Okay… you get it. Okay, one more:
Just so you can see for yourself.
Not all of these are fun. Some are sad, some tell stories, lots of messages in bottles, who does that? I want to meet them.
Today my therapist and I had an hour-long discussion about Self Talk.
Now, most of you born before 1980 will most likely think of this when I say Self...more
Today my therapist and I had an hour-long discussion about Self Talk.
Now, most of you born before 1980 will most likely think of this when I say Self Talk. That’s fine. That’s where I went too. You see, I’m in this stage that I call ‘the flattening’—not sure if that’s a clinical term or not but yeah, I’m also calling it ‘blah’ or ‘ennui’ or ‘fuck this, I need a nap.’ Nothing excites nor upsets me. Nothing is beautiful nor is it fugly. Everything is just… there.
Thus, I began Winter’s Bone. I remember my GR friends raving about it, but I didn’t remember any particulars, except maybe a Deliverance reference (because of my irrational fear, those always catch my eye.) It’s a short book, the font isn’t too terrible. I didn’t think it was such a risk in my current state of mind.
This book is bleak. Motherfucking Bleak.
Okay, first you’ve got these Ozarkians who are mostly inbred, but not in a Chainsaw Massacre sort of way, which is what I was expecting… but still everyone is a Dolly or a Milton or a fusion of the two. Their lots in life are pretty much cast by birth… crank cooks mostly… really, I can’t see another viable occupation… maybe road kill hunters? I’m not sure.
The story centers on Ree, a sixteenish year old girl who takes charge of her two brothers when her mother loses her mind and is cast to the rocking chair humming old dance tunes and her Dad goes MIA, skipping his court hearing and leaving his family in jeopardy of losing their home. Christ… Ree’s life makes the Ingalls look decadent. She’s got a batty mom, two boys that she loves dearly and hopes will make a better life for themselves, a crank cookin’ AWOL father and a bunch of lecherous kin hanging about. Hello? A&E would have a field day with this… I foresee the next installment of reality shows The Ozarks.
Here’s where I relate the Self Talk. Ree dreams of getting out of this hole and joining the army and seeing the world. She’s been prepping her brothers to hunt (squirrels) and cook (squirrels) and take care of their mom. To Ree, this is her way of staying above the chasm that is crazy. Before she can leave, she needs to find her Dad, he put their house up for bail and she needs to set this straight. She does what everyone warns her not to… she starts asking questions.
Now, we might not think this is a ‘bad’ thing, right? It’s just questions… apparently her kin feel differently and their reaction is a beat down that makes that scene in Goodfellas look like a ride at Disneyland.
Yet, Ree’s Self Talk doesn’t have her giving up and going to that world of butterflies and warm beaches that her mother frequents from her rocking chair… instead it has her risking her life to find out what happened to her father in order to save the family farm (so to speak.)
But, what I find interesting is how her close(r) kin react. There is honor and reparations and a good heaping of vengeance mixed in that show that even though they live this fucked up life, they are not alone. This made me almost cherish this wholly dysfunctional, squirrel eating, family.
There was something about this book that just didn’t stick with me. Maybe it was that I couldn’t relate to such a family or situation. It probably didn’t help that I read most of this book while sitting by the pool or working out at the gym. Yeah, it really didn’t give me the attachment that I crave when reading. It’s totally selfish and really shouldn’t affect my rating of the book, but there it is. The writing is impressive… the tale is haunting… but… sometimes Woodrell would pepper his character’s speech with lines like ‘There’s always been favorite places’ or ‘This was how sudden things happened that haunted forever.’ and it would jar me out of this girl’s journey and make me remember that I’m reading this on the elliptical and that I’m not freezing in some forgotten graveyard in Missouri. (less)
TBWLOOW would have been a ‘good read’, I honestly believe that, but I don't know… something happened along the way.
Maybe it was the fact that I start...moreTBWLOOW would have been a ‘good read’, I honestly believe that, but I don't know… something happened along the way.
Maybe it was the fact that I started this during the holidays, and that's not fair to any book, I'm the biggest wench from November 15th to January 15th. I should limit my reading to People magazine or maybe some old Three's Company scripts... I don't know, I haven't figured out the system just yet.
Maybe it was my utter lack of knowledge about the political turmoil that is the Dominican Republic in the 1950s. I really have no excuse about this...(really, ask me how to become invisible in Maniac Mansion and I can spit that crap right out.) I know I should know about Trujillo and um, those other guys.... I'll know better in the next life. (sure)
Maybe it was the fact that I decided to take French(1) in High School. Spanish was offered and it would have greatly improved my enjoyment of this novel...seeing I'd understand a fifth more of it.
Maybe it was that I could never figure out who the hell was narrating the damn chapters.
Maybe it was all the LOTR(2) references.
But, I really think it was the fact that I frakking (not lost on me) hate footnotes.(3)
I guess we'll never know and I guess that 2 months of my life is now just a blur with what is probably some really good writing and I'm the bigger fool in all of this.
1. In my defense, I did attend High School in New Hampshire from 1984-1988, and if you're at all familiar with this area and timeframe, you'd know that there is a heavy Canuck presence complete with Poutin and Bob & Doug MacKenzie references. So, you know, it was only natural for me to take French I (& II) instead of Spanish, which I could have easily learned if I had watched Welcome Back, Kotter with any frequency (and I don't mean that as a racist thing at all, I'm just completely oblivious..then again, I'm oblivious to french too.) 2. Okay, LOTR wasn't that bad. It did have Viggo. I guess I'm just being a grumpy girl. Sorry. 3. Really? How fucking distracting, yo. (less)
I'm being told that this is funny... but so far all I want to do is gather David Sedaris into my arms and rock him back and forth and tell him everyth...moreI'm being told that this is funny... but so far all I want to do is gather David Sedaris into my arms and rock him back and forth and tell him everything is okay.
Okay, finished. Is it really supposed to be funny? I found myself pretty saddened by most of the stories. He's got a great writing style and I definitely felt pulled into each of the stories, but I think I felt more empathetic than anything.
Especially in "C.O.G":
I didn't want to quit my job. Quitting involved a certain degree of responsibility I didn't want to assume. Rather, I hoped that Jon might remove that burden and dismiss me as soon as possible. I had felt contempt for him, even occasional hatred, and now I was fighting the urge to feel sorry for him. He must have known it, and clearing his throat he proceeded to cut me off at the pass. "Let me tell you a little something," he said finally. "I don't appreciate being used. I'm not talking here about all the free coffee and rides I've given you. I mean used in here." He meant to point at his heart but, swerving to pass another car, wound up gesturing toward his lap instead. "You're a user, kid. You used my tools and my patience and now you want me to pat you on the head and tell you what a good little boy you are. But you know what? You're not a good boy. You're not even a good girl." More, I thought. More, more
There's definitely similar themes in each story. He has low self esteem, he sees himself as weak and effeminate and hardly useful. He has strong ties to his family, although he isn't exactly sure why. Sure, they are told with a whimsical air, but I couldn't help but pick up on the self hatred and run with it. Maybe it's where I feel in my own life, but at the end of each story I reflected on his assessments and had to stop myself from breaking down.
In 'Naked' someone asks him the question 'What if everybody in the world were allowed one wish, but in order to get it, it meant they'd bave to crawl around on their hands and knees for the rest of their life?'
If I could have the face and body of my dreams, what good would it do me if I had to walk around like an animal? Mabe if I were to wish for happiness, I wouldn't mind crawling -- but what kind of a person would I be if I were naturally happy? I've seen people like that on inspirational television shows and they scare me. Why did I have to think about this in the first place?
I enjoyed his stories and I will most likely read more but I'll have to up my anti-depressant dosage first.
My only experience with Neil Gaiman’s writing (other than a viewing of Coraline) was Anansi Boys, which happened to be the sequel to American Gods to...moreMy only experience with Neil Gaiman’s writing (other than a viewing of Coraline) was Anansi Boys, which happened to be the sequel to American Gods to which no one had bothered to tell me about. So, yeah, I was hesitant. I mean really… of all the people on this site that I know that like Gaiman, couldn’t one of you have bothered to let me know? Huh? Fine. It’s done with.
Now, erasing that slight… really, I am… I will tell you that I totally gave Gaiman the brush off. I filed him under ‘what the hell’, ‘hype’, ‘don’t give a damn’ and ‘world weary.’
Neverwhere is brimming with exotic personalities who have ‘fallen between the cracks’ and landed in ‘London Below’, the place below the sewers and train tunnels, where rats have kingdoms and Night is still an idea that is terrifying. The plot is a familiar one, there is a quest, there are bad guys, there is the hesitant hero and a rakish Marquis. Oh, and there’s Door, the determined princess in distress. But Gaiman’s writing creeps along the sewers and delivers us to angels in a way that takes your breath away.
“And then it erupted over the side of the platform. It was diaphanous, dreamlike, a ghost-thing, the color of black smoke, and it welled up like silk under water, and, moving astonishingly fast while still seeming to drift almost in slow motion, it wrapped itself tightly around Richard’s ankle.”
I wonder sometimes what falling through the cracks would be like. If everyone that I knew suddenly ‘unknew’ me. Would I go mad? Would I huddle in doorways and wait for the gloaming to swallow me? Could I survive? (Seriously, help me out here...I'm all for huddling...)Our hero, Richard, meets Hunters and Velvets and Earls and assassins that make those creepy floaty dudes from Buffy episode Season 4, #10 look like Hummels. Richard, of course, is made better by knowing these creatures and learns that life isn’t all about corner offices and pretentious fiancés..and that sometimes angels can be assholes, but we already knew that, right? (less)
This came highly recommended... and I hate that. It usually means that I'm either going to love it or it will be, eh... okay.
Yep, it was okay. This i...moreThis came highly recommended... and I hate that. It usually means that I'm either going to love it or it will be, eh... okay.
Yep, it was okay. This is my problem with hype. I read and I read and I keep thinking, it will wow me soon, it will, it has to. Then, it's done and here I am.
The story is pretty good, the pace, pretty slow. I felt like I'd seen a Lifetime film based on this at some point, but I did a bunch of googling and there's nothing out there, so scrap that.
Maybe it was my issue with the narrative. When told in first person, past tense, I just don't get sucked in. Great, 'you' (main character) want to tell me a story about something that happened. Well, that's what it becomes. Plus, 'you' pretty much give me a big ol' helping of the plot right in chapter one, so there goes some of THAT surprise factor.
Also, it's hard for me to relate to the characters, most of them elitist college kids studying classic Greek... didn't stroke my fancy.
But, not saying it doesn't do it for others, I suppose. I'd go for 2 1/2 stars if Otis gets around to adding those 1/2 star thingamajigs. (less)