“Laurie Sanders sat in the publications office at Gordon High School chewing on the end of a Bic pen. She was a pretty girl with short light-brown hai...more“Laurie Sanders sat in the publications office at Gordon High School chewing on the end of a Bic pen. She was a pretty girl with short light-brown hair and an almost perpetual smile that only disappeared when she was upset or chewing on Bic pens. Lately she’d been chewing on a lot of pens. In fact, there wasn’t a single pen or pencil in her pocketbook that wasn’t worn down on the butt end from nervous gnawing. Still, it beat smoking. “
Thus begins The Wave.
Can we break apart that paragraph, please?
'Laurie Sanders (seriously WASPY name there) sat in the publications office at Gordon High School (seriously WASPY school there) chewing on the end of a Bic (isn’t this a trademark or a registered item or something??) pen.'
'She was a pretty girl (thanks, we needed that knowledge) with short light-brown hair and an almost perpetual (BIG word ) smile that only disappeared when she was upset or chewing on Bic pens.' (-------) Here is the 1981 Made- for –TV- movie version of Laurie
'Lately she’d been chewing on a lot of pens.' (!!!!!!!!)
'In fact, there wasn’t a single pen or pencil in her pocketbook (I always hated pocketbooks) that wasn’t worn down on the butt end from nervous gnawing' (ALLITERATION!!)
'Still, it beat smoking.' (what a minute, what? Laurie Sanders of Gordon High School fucking smokes????)
Oh dear Lord, this was excruciatingly exasperating. (GOTCHA)
This is supposed based on a ‘real event’ that happened in Palo Alto, California at Cubberley High School back in April of 1967 conducted by a History teacher named Ron Jones (porn name):
“Jones, unable to explain to his students how the German population could claim ignorance of the extermination of the Jewish people, decided to show them instead. Jones started a movement called "The Third Wave" and told his students that the movement aimed to eliminate democracy. The idea that democracy emphasizes individuality was considered as a drawback of democracy, and Jones emphasized this main point of the movement in its motto: "Strength through discipline, strength through community, strength through action, strength through pride."
So, this book is a novelization of a teleplay of an actual event. And the writer, Todd Strasser, used the pen name Morton Rhue.(Really? Morton Rhue?) Christ… this shit is fucked up. So… what do YOU think happens? Well, here’s the spoiler. They all become little Nazis. Seriously. Well, not all but like 98% of them do and the ones that don’t are threatened. ‘The Wave’ is supposed to make the football team win big against Clarkstown. ‘The Wave’ takes the class reject/future sociopath and makes him an organized, welcomed sociopath. ‘The Wave’ makes Amy Smith (a petite girl with thick, curly, Goldilocks hair) not feel like she always needs to compete against her BFF, Laurie with boys and grades and stuff. It’s like when phen-phen hit the market.. It’s a true blue miracle! And how long do you think it took to stick? C’mon… guess… a month? Two? Try five days.
Five.Days. An entire school was ready to give up all personal freedom and individuality for this ‘Wave’—which was nothing more than the motto, membership cards, and a salute, mind you—in a work week.
Yes. Yes.. I, too, see Generation Y or Generation Z… the one that got awards for every fucking little thing that they attempted… completely falling under this spell. But, seriously? I KNOW that my generation is way too cynical for such crap. We wouldn’t have even bothered to attend the stupid pep rally announcing The Wave. We’re hiding in the darkroom playing Joy Division.
This novella/teleplay/what have you sucks. It sucks donkey balls. The writing falls between a bad Hardy Boys story and a good Sweet Valley High. If I had to read another lines like: “Copies of the Grapevine had never been scooped up faster than they were that day. The school was abuzz with the news.” I was going to start my own genocidal Nazi Party. (Please do not go all PC on me right now, ok?)
There are many reasons why I wouldn’t like this book:
1. I hate feeling dumb.
2. It’s set in Ancient Israel, 70 C.E. to be exact, and the fact that I ha...moreThere are many reasons why I wouldn’t like this book:
1. I hate feeling dumb.
2. It’s set in Ancient Israel, 70 C.E. to be exact, and the fact that I had to ask what C.E. meant --being a child of B.C and A.D --did not go over well (Refer to #1)
3. It’s set in Ancient Israel and I, shamefully, have absolutely no clue what happened back then. I mean… besides the Last Temptation of Christ and bible stories that I kind of sort of remember. (#1)
4. The author also wrote Practical Magic, which I have not read but I have seen the movie and besides it being pretty damn awful, I got a serious complex having to look at Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock slink around in little black dresses. AND she’s also a favorite of Oprah which causes controversy on its own level that I don’t care to go into but still am squeamish about…
5. Hype. Wasn’t it one of the books nominated for a GR Book of the Year?
6. It’s a book that one of my co-workers would look at and say ‘Oh, I’ve read that!’ (a definite sign to stay away)
7.It’s set in Masada… and I don’t know about you, but I had no idea what Masada was. Maybe it’s my Titanic, I don’t know. But, going off of #1, I didn’t like it when I mentioned this to a friend and he said ‘Oh, when (view spoiler)[all the Jews killed themselves and their families rather than be captured by the Romans, what a massacre!! (hide spoiler)] and I was only about 200 pages into it and had already started to care for some of the characters and well, HATE IT when surprises are ruined. (run-on sentence, whatever…)and.. well (#1)
So, yes, there were many challenges to face reading this book. I’m not even sure why it was on my To-Read list… it’s not like any of you suggested it to me. Or, I think I might have run across this ditty at some point because I had a déjà vu type moment when I read it:
“For those who say that the Witch of Moab never loved anyone, that she was selfish, concerned with her own fate alone, I can only say that she was ruined by love and delivered by it and that she left something glorious to the word, a child who loves to stand in the rain.”
Okay, yes, you’ve written it off as a chick lit book. I get it. I would too based on that.. which is, by the way, on the last page of the novel and couldn’t have ruined my opinion of the story no how.
This book is elegant. That’s probably the highest praise that I can bestow right now. I crave to be elegant. I am clumsy and messy and blabber and start sentences with ‘and’ and disregard all my 7th grade English teacher, Mrs. Van Houten, taught me about punctuation.
The story is based on actual events, you can even see some of the items mentioned in it at museums and such. But, what Hoffman has done has created characters around this story. The lives of four Dovekeepers and the people who surround them. She presents them to you in such a way that you actually feel like you were handling doves (that is, if you liked them… and c’mon… too many weddings show that the cliché is true.) The women are capable and graceful and intelligent. They have a quiet strength and live with many ghosts. They have all come to Masada for different reasons and fate leads them to one another and we hear each of their stories in their own voice. The Assassin’s Daughter. The Baker’s Wife. The Warrior’s Beloved. The Witch of Moab.
Hoffman’s writing style was simple, short sentences. Statements, rather. But, beautifully written, so much so that I would find myself going back to the pages that I marked off to re-read passages. So much said in so little fashion. “I took my hand from his. He looked like ice, but ice is known to burn.” Or “ When the wind is so strong that we women know we will choke on the rising dust if we fail to tie our scarves across our faces, boys will always ignore the elements and race through storm clouds, dreaming of glory.”
The first page of the book, before the map even, has this written on it:
“Let my burden be your burden, and yours be mine.”
Much better than that crap people recite from that wedding song. Life is hard. People die and people suffer and the most honorable thing you can do is help carry the weight. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Here. Right here is why I will always love books and never fully give in to those e-reader thingies.
Touch this book. Go ahead. Open it up, crack the b...moreHere. Right here is why I will always love books and never fully give in to those e-reader thingies.
Touch this book. Go ahead. Open it up, crack the binding a little, and stroke a page. Oh Yeah. Smooth, right? Not a gloss really but there is a coating to it. Definitely not a matte. Could be a creamwove or even copier paper. Rub your thumb up and down a page. Uh huh... you got it.
That---and the photos. I've always derived a perverse pleasure in carnie folk and all things carnie. (Remember, I'm that rubber-necker type.) Well, stick some outlandish ancient photographs in front of me and watch me get my freak on. It's like a delusional 20yr old and Bieber-fever. Maybe this is Rigg's schtick. Seems that everyone has one these days. I'm not complaining, they had me at the paper, remember? These photographs that the narrative revolves around are creepy fun. Little boys dressed up in Gacy clown costumes feeding each other ribbon? Sad little boy in bunny suit sitting on a walkway? Gothy Girl, Tim Burton fan carrying a chicken? I am so there.
And the story ain't bad neither.
Jacob loves his grandfather and his grandfather's stories about "life in the Welsh Childrens home. It was an enchanted place, he said, designed to keep kids safe from the monsters, on an island where the sun shined every day and nobody ever got sick or dies. Everyone lived together in a big house that was protected by a wise old bird--or so the story went."
Hello?? Sign me up! He talks of levitating girls and invisible boys, children with mouths on the back of their head and girls who create fire with her hand. All living happily tucked away from the monsters.
Until one of the monsters kills his grandfather. Jacob, of course, is the only witness to this and bears his beloved granddad's last words:
"There's no time," he whispered. Then he raised his head off the ground, trembling with the effort, and breathed into my ear: 'Find the bird. In the loop. On the other side of the old man's grave. September third, 1940.' I nodded but he could see that I didn't understand. With his last bit of strength, he added, "Emerson--the letter. Them them what happened, Yakob."
Now this--THIS is what I was hoping The Forgetting Room would be like. This is the creepiness that I wanted from The Night Strangers. THANK YOU.
Jacob convinces his parents and his shrink (you don't think a kid like this needs a shrink?)that he must go to the island, to deal with his grandfather's death. He finds the house, ruined, and learns that on September 3, 1940 a bomb fell on it and killed everyone. Everyone but one boy who went off to fight the monsters.
Jacob's journey is far from over, but I will leave you to find out. If I had known (which is really REALLY surprising since it was a NY Times Bestseller this year) I wouldn't have enjoyed it nearly as much. And we all need joy, right? (less)
Why is it that every book I read lately is, at best, a 3 star? It’s like I’m trapped in a Cosmic Latte sitting room and my only form of entertainment...moreWhy is it that every book I read lately is, at best, a 3 star? It’s like I’m trapped in a Cosmic Latte sitting room and my only form of entertainment is deciphering vanity plates. Seriously. I need to be roused! Vivified! Medicated! Perked! I need… pizzazz (That's right, I said it.)
Chris Bohjalian is to Vermont what Jodi Picoult is to New Hampshire. What Robert James Waller is to Iowa and so forth. I mean, look at the man…
I’ve read a few of his books… Midwives and The Double Bind --- they weren’t bad… I actually enjoyed the Gatsby thingamajig he does within The Double Bind… but I’m not all ‘Oh no, let’s go crazy!’ over him. But, I was listening to VPR and they were talking about his newest book and how it was a mysteryish, ghostish kinda story so I said, what the hell… I even liked the first line description… “In a dusty corner of a basement in a rambling Victorian house in northern New Hampshire, a door has long been sealed shut with 39 six-inch-long carriage bolts.”
First of all, it’s set in NH. I kind of felt ripped off, you know? I mean… he’s OURS. Let Jodi write about NH. No fair. Then I learn that the point of convergence that spurns the story actually happens on Lake Champlain (an airbus tries to pull a Sullenberger-on-the-Hudson type move but tragedy ensues…) so I’m thinking… okay… at least we got that.
So, as I said.. the main character is this pilot who crashes his plane into Lake Champlain, killing 39 people. He has survivor’s guilt, he’s obsessed with that Sully Sullenberger dude, he’s plain miserable… so, the family decides to move from Pennsylvania to New Hampshire (????) and worse… 'Bethel', New Hampshire. That’s like not even in existence! Keep it real, Christopher!!! There are enough scary remote NH towns; you don’t need to fictionalize one! Okay, whatever… So, there are these ‘herbalists’ (female, of course) that live in ‘Bethel’ and they all have… get this… plant names. Names like Reseda, Sage, Tansy, Anise, Verbana (Christ… enough already). Well, these ‘herbalists’ are taking a special interest in the pilot’s twin daughters (twins… never a good sign, right?) and don’t think that those 39 carriage bolts aren’t connected to the 39 passengers who died… okay? Just don’t go there. From there… much, much, more crap ensues.
Yes, I’m rambling. I’m rambling because I’m disappointed. I wanted a good ‘scare the shit out of me’ book---they’re like my Twilight Porn when I’m not reading Twilight Porn, okay? And what I got was a bunch of stupid plant women who want to Ponce De Leon up their lives. Why? You live in rural, northern, NH? What’s the point? It’s fucking New Hampshire. (less)
The secret word of the day is FUN... no, let’s make it HYPE. Room.. Room... Room… I saw the crayoned word here, there, and everywhere. New York Times’...moreThe secret word of the day is FUN... no, let’s make it HYPE. Room.. Room... Room… I saw the crayoned word here, there, and everywhere. New York Times’ and Library Journal named it one of the best books of 2010, it has its own website! (where I found out it was named best book of 2010 among many other honors and dead links).
Fine, I knew what I was getting into… any book that Marie Claire calls “[A] whammy of a novel…” has me questioning the meaning of life and other stuff. But, so does macaroni and cheese loaf, so…
It’s not that it’s a bad book. Of course, I went into the novel having no real idea of what the story was about. I never do, book jackets are not meant for reading, reviews wait until I’ve already fashioned an opinion. It took me about 60 pages to realize that this wasn’t a Glass Castle ish book and that this was one of those select few books. Select few meaning who has really experienced this? Can we truly relate to the plot? I mean, outside of Jaycee Dugard and that woman in Switzerland who can nod and say ‘holy shit! they’ve nailed it!! Right On!’ and I know that novels are meant to present us with the whole fictional thing and all that-- but usually I like to relate to the characters or the situation but holy hell… not here.
Sure, the narrative is really exasperating, but you get used to it. Jack is five and lives in the ‘ROOM’ and everything is named after what it is. Table is named ‘Table’, Roof is named ‘Roof’, Tub is named ‘Tub’—alright, alright already. Usually I’m on board with the gimmicks, but this one didn’t really strike like Oskar’s ‘heavy boots’ or ‘one hundred dollars’ did. To each her own.
The plot, quite frankly, terrifies me. It makes me want to never ever let my children leave the house and STILL forward them all those emails about scams involving elderly people with sick animals in mall parking lots.
I did enjoy the ‘After’ section. We never think about ‘After’ in these sensationalism stories. People magazine might do a retrospective on how the cellist Mormon beauty is doing five years down the line, but really… what about day to day? What if you never knew that outside was real? I can’t go there… where’s my Xanax…. (less)
Ohkaaaaaaayyyyy... Now I get it. Carrie D'Amour, if you're out there, I apologize for mocking your Sandman fascination back in 1989. And for that hair...moreOhkaaaaaaayyyyy... Now I get it. Carrie D'Amour, if you're out there, I apologize for mocking your Sandman fascination back in 1989. And for that haircut.(less)
I have a confession. I… um… don’t know how to read comic books. There. I said it. Let the heckling begin. In my defense, I am a girl. Ok, no. I mean,...moreI have a confession. I… um… don’t know how to read comic books. There. I said it. Let the heckling begin. In my defense, I am a girl. Ok, no. I mean, it’s not like the mid 1970s really gave us any good comics. Uhh… Okay, I don’t know. I have no excuse. It’s never been my thing. I remember trying to read some Archie ones and some Wendy Witch ones.. meh. Plus, I um... always screwed up the reading order.
So, last night I sat down across from my sixteen year old. She had the manners to at least glance up at me during My Little Pony (the NEW version… I must specify that) and give me a look like ‘Wait.’ I did---until a commercial, when she proceeded to dramatically roll her head in my direction.
“What?” “Um.. I need your help.” “I’m not doing the dishes. It’s Marley’s turn.” “No, not that. I um… got this from the library…” “Sandman. Cool. Nice graphics.” “Yeah, yeah… cool. Um… how do I read it?” “What?” “I mean… what’s the order? Do I read the balloons that are above the other balloons? Do I read down or across? Why are some fonts different?” “Seriously?” “Um… Yes.”
After much laughing and calling in ALL the other children, she showed me the correct way to read a comic book. Sorry, graphic novel. I still screwed it up. I jumped all over the place and then had to go back and re-read the pages. I probably didn’t pay enough attention to the pictures because I’m not used to doing that while I read. I didn’t understand who some of the characters were. Especially when they brought in the Justice League peeps. I think I missed some of the nuances. I didn’t understand why Dr. Dee had to (view spoiler)[kill that really nice woman who gave him the coat. (hide spoiler)] I mean…c’mon… you were like gross looking and she helped you out.
The scenes in Hell were interesting, even if I didn’t get the whole battle. It reminded me of a Wonder Twins cartoon where Zan and Jayna are constantly changing forms. Lucifer was kind of hot if you like that fallen angel look. He reminded me of a young Leif Garrett...
The scenes in Arkum were confusing. I am not familiar with those characters outside of the Batman movies. Like the professor who was tricking people into thinking he was a hanging corpse? What was that all about?
I did enjoy the last part of the story where Morpheus meets up with his sister and they’re hanging out in Washington Square Park. I’ve heard that there are other stories where his family play into the plot more. I’m looking forward to those. That whole Robert Smith/Siouxsie look is fun to revisit and I can't wait to meet Delirium.
You may be surprised by this but I never went to Prom. I know, right? I mean, seriously… WTF? And, like everyone said… I regret it. I mean, if I had g...more You may be surprised by this but I never went to Prom. I know, right? I mean, seriously… WTF? And, like everyone said… I regret it. I mean, if I had gone to Prom then maybe Derek Ducharme would have noticed me in my Micro short version extremely popular Sweet Dreams dress. A gorgeous peau de sois satin gown featuring a breathtaking skirt with gather detailing. A boned bustier, which fits like a glove, forms a charming neckline and proposed to me right away. We would have married after college, he’d be a business major and I’d stay home selling Mary Kay. We’d make beautiful babies that would grow up to be bullies that would spit on the silly goth girls at pep rallies and we’d laugh and laugh and laugh… Ahhh… If only…
Uh huh. And exploding monkeys eating pie will fly out of butt.
Why then… why would I subject myself to a book of short stories all about proms? Because these are some of the best damn writers in young adult right now. A few weeks ago I finished Geektastic and wanted more. MORE! I did falter a bit when I saw the topic. Christ, PROM? Who the fuck cares? Seriously… people treat this like a major life moment. It’s supposed to define you or your entire school self.. this is when you can get back at Troy Smith for letting go of Tyler Ferguson’s hand during Red Rover Red Rover causing you to fall flat on the cement playground knocking out your front top tooth in 2nd grade. This is your moment to shine, buddy. Well, Troy Smith is now gay and his BF is so freaking hot that you end up crying in the bathroom while Twissa-- the cheerleader that’s berated you for the past 6 years is puking in the stall behind you, her Bo Derek braids she and every other slut that went on the senior trip to the Bahamas decided was the cool look clank against the toilet rim. Yeah… good times, good times.
21 Proms is what it is. Kids obsessed with Prom. I wasn’t impressed with most of the plot lines since I could care less about the event, but the writing and the characters…well, I can accept the Under The Sea motifs for a bit. These stories deal with all the teen angst that high school can bring and yet some.. okay most… are endearing. Like the Libba Bray story 'Primate the Prom'…
“Flash told me about this movement. It’s called Primate the Prom. It started in Kansas, after what happened to William Lamb.” William Lamb was a band-boy-cute seventeen-year-old from some small town in Kansas. He had a gorilla boyfriend named Johnny. The two of them tried to make a statement by crashing their prom. A mob of kids in tuxes and prom dresses beat them bloody and tied them to the flagpole. They shaved Johnny of all his fur. And William Lamb ended up with serious brain damage. He won’t date another ape. He won’t date at all.”
“ Do you ever feel like you’re living in a circle, instead of a line?” Ben asked. “Like, you never change?” Elsie squinted at him, sleepy. “Like, I’m me now,” he went on, “but I’m also me on this big hike my dad and I took when I was ten, and I’m also me the first day of school freshman year. And I’m me in the future. It’s like one of those wooden dolls. With all those smaller dolls inside.” He blinked up at the sky. “Even when I’m surprised by how things turn out, deep down I’m never surprised, you know? Because it’s all already there, and none of it disappears.”
Prom will always be. Angst is forever. Let them drink cheap punch and lose their virginity (do they still do that on Prom Night?) Some day they will rule the world. (less)
"There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire."
So it begins. Fine. Yep. These are the stuff fairy tales are made from-blahblahblah...more "There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart's Desire."
So it begins. Fine. Yep. These are the stuff fairy tales are made from-blahblahblah. Sure thing. What else you got?
I really don’t get the point of this novella. I mean, yes, I see that there once was a man who made a journey to capture the uncapturable (a fallen star) for the woman that he loves. Wait. Does he really love her? Do I really care? I spent half the book thinking his name was Tristan not Tristran, so I guess the answer is no. Yes, he thinks she’s a hottie. Yes, he stalks her like a bedazzled Margaret Mary Ray rumbling around in Letterman’s bushes. Christ! He sits in trees and watches her undress. What of it? Where is the love? Has he sat down and had coffee with her? Does he know her favorite book? Whether she likes boxers or briefs? Seriously?
So, he leaves his boring town of Wall to enter Faerie and find this star who is actually a beautiful young woman.(YAWN) He meets colorful filler characters along the way…yadda yadda yadda. But wait, we have another story line going on about some princely brothers who want to take over their kingdom but have to find a topaz that their father threw out the window, towards that SAME fallen star, before he croaked. And wait, there’s ANOTHER story line where 3 old witch hags also want that fallen star because her heart will given them some much needed youth. SEE HOW THEY INTERCONNECT?
Good, because the rest of it is really just a ‘she did this, he did that, they fought, they died, they tricked, he smartens up..’ kind of story. I didn’t really know the characters, I really didn’t care who ended up with who. They all kind of irritated me. The action was pretty dull. What happened to EPIC? Not like ‘dude, that frat party was so epic…’ but like Princess-Bride-Epic or Long-Island-Lolita-Epic… C’mon, Gaiman..bring it on. I know you can do it.. People wouldn’t be so enamored of you if you couldn’t. Right? (less)
In my 20th year, I picked up a copy of Griffin & Sabine - An Extraordinary Correspondence while loitering at the Wordsworth Book Store in Harvard...moreIn my 20th year, I picked up a copy of Griffin & Sabine - An Extraordinary Correspondence while loitering at the Wordsworth Book Store in Harvard Square. I was stone-broke — living on crackers, jello and sno-cones… and this was a great way to spend a weekend. I was also in the Oxytocin throes of new love so I fell. I fell really really hard. It had that voyeuristic concept (like when you are reading letters that high school boyfriends wrote your mom) that gave me chills and the delusional inkling that made Griffin an awesome archetype of dysfunction.
20 years and too many cynical experiences later, I found The Forgetting Room. Was I looking for that rush again? Wordsworth is gone. Maurice is gone. Hell… welcome to crows feet, gray hair and stretch marks. I needed a win.
Ok, I knew… I knew it wasn’t going to be Griffin and Sabine revisited. There are already like six sequels to that story. I saw The Forgetting Room---which is such a great concept in its own. A room for forgetting? A forgotten room? The possibilities. Then there was Spain… land of Don Quixote, Pedro Almodóvar, Plácido Domingo, etc… and lastly.. but not really… the art of Nick Bantock. The wedding invitation, the concertina pages, the collages. I needed the visual reminder of what I loved so much about the Griffin and Sabine books.
Plus, the story sounded intriguing -- Armon has one week to clean out his late grandfather, Rafael’s, house in Rondo, Spain to prepare it for sale. His marriage has failed. He has no passion for his bookbinding business. He is broken by what ifs and roads not taken. Here, he is presented with a past that never had a chance to really play out. There was a time when he idolized his grandfather, taking weekly art lessons and meditating on Rafael’s socialist ruminations. There was a code to live by with Rafael that Armon’s own father couldn’t provide for him-a sense of connection that Armon lost in adulthood. Now, his grandfather gives him a puzzle that will unravel that code for an adult Armon.
Sounds neat, right? I so wish it was. I was hoping that the game would enlighten… that I might solve it before Armon… but, not really. In the end, I felt duped. There was no angelic chorus or warm fuzzies or even light chuckle to be had. The artwork is darn pretty though.
And the Garcia Lorca (view spoiler)[ I have raised three arches and with a clumsy hand have placed in them the muse, the angel and the duende. Through these empty arches enters a wind of the mind, which blows over the heads of the dead insistently, searching for new landscapes, accents we never knew. (hide spoiler)] quotes were swoon worthy.
“It occurred to me that the quiet in the suburbs had nothing to do with peace.”
I believe it is time for another identity crisis. It has been a few yea...more“It occurred to me that the quiet in the suburbs had nothing to do with peace.”
I believe it is time for another identity crisis. It has been a few years. My neurosis is making farm animals out of dust clusters in this particular corner and screaming to be taken for a walk. It’s time to lube up and face the fact that I might just be becoming one of those women that I want to kick in the shins with my doc martens and spit and spew snarky, inappropriate, gen x’er, manifesto-esque, Jenny Holzer Truisms back at their vapid expressions. Harsh? You think?
Except… I think… maybe it’s not so bad. I nod and smile at people in the village market. I balk at leaving the house after 8pm. I attend Family Fun Night at the local park. I read to the 1st graders at the elementary school. I like drinking wine on my deck. WTF? I have to doubt all my actions now. I’m losing my edge and it’s such a slippery slope into Dullsville.
Reading TGGTHAF did not numb this dark and stormy mood. I had heard from other readers that it let them down. I have learned from Papa Ingalls ‘…don't have expectations. Expectations in your life just lead to giant disappointments.’ (Seriously???… Highway to Heaven, my ass….) Still, I did go in with a bad attitude.
Thing is, I really did enjoy these little stories. They made me think back to college when I was reading Lust and Self-Help: Stories and wanting so much to emulate these amazing writers. I can’t fault Melissa Bank for doing what I always wanted to. Yes, there are the familiar scenarios: first love, jealousy, cancer, parental death, yadda yadda yadda… Christ, someone somewhere really should throw out some of these formulas. Damn writing teachers! ‘Write what you know!’ That’s fine if you don’t come across as clichéd or, god forbid, boring. What I like about these stories are that they center (mostly) on the same character, Jane, so you see her growth and still get to chuckle at her snarcastism. “he tried to smile, but it was just a shape his mouth made”.
There are so many times while reading that one-liners like this stopped me and made me read them again. To me, that makes it worthy of at least 3 stars. Bank brings it to the next level by making me care about this girl and to see the fault lines before the rumble. Sure, it’s all part of the plan but it still sucked me in. “When you mention antidepressants, he looks at you as though suddenly discovering that you have the depth of a Doublemint twin.”
The second-person-singular story “You Could be Anyone” amped this up to 4 stars. I am a sucker for this narrative. I always have been. It’s overly dramatic and it brings the story right to me. I am ‘you’ and I am just fine with that.
“At Christmas-and Hanukkah-and Kwanza time you’re blue because you don’t belong to a religion, and his---psychoanalysis---doesn’t have any holidays. He makes a candelabra out of wire hangers and duct tape. He lights sparklers and wings a prayer, listing what he believes in---“The Bill of Rights,” which he recites from memory, natural-grass baseball diamonds, and your breasts.”
Yes, there are many writers out there of this genre and cynics can say that Bank is just another wet squib. But, she’s one of my wet squibs. I see us as BFFs bantering and bumbling through girly girl things while drinking port wine out of the bottle and dribbling all down our Smiths t-shirts. Give me this so I can smirk at the next Junior High Spirit Night.
The title story is also a favorite of mine. The hunt for the perfect husband. The game that must be played to attract the right guy. Jane buys the guide to finding this elusive creature and it is filled with helpful suggestions such as: “Don’t be yourself!” “Say yes to everything you’re invited to!” “Don’t say ‘I love you’ first! Wear your hair long! Don’t bring up marriage!” “Don’t accept a date less than four days in advance!” “Don’t be funny!” “Don’t be negative!” “Keep him guessing!” “Get out there!” Gah… - talk about making your skin crawl.
There is one scene that especially seizes..and hasn’t let go. Jane is discussing how she and her suitable suitor have attended a series of one-act plays by David Ives. She talks about one in particular… TIME FLIES, “where two lonely but sweet young mayflies meet at a pond and really hit it off. Unfortunately, Horace and May watch a nature program on this first night out and discover they have a lifespan of only one day—and their lives are half over.”
“Leaving the theater, Robert and I are both dazzled and exuberant, talking at once and laughing, and we spontaneously kiss. He says, “I want to mate with you and die.”
There’s that whoosh of oxytocin that I’m looking for. The thing that makes me wonder if I’ll ever grow up and see that all of this as just fiction and that the more I want to believe the more that I will be let down. That I am severely close to becoming one of these and that I will lose the irony.
Here is how the book ends (no spoiler.. not really)
“Instead of laughing, he pulls me in. We kiss, we kiss, we kiss, in front of Jezebel and all the cartoons. There is no stopping now. Both of us are hunters and prey, fishers and fish. We are the surf n’ turf special with fries and slaw. We are just two mayflies mating on a summer night.”
I kind of hate this book. I can only reason that I picked it up because I felt lonely and hormonal and thought that maybe I could pass the time with a...moreI kind of hate this book. I can only reason that I picked it up because I felt lonely and hormonal and thought that maybe I could pass the time with a cute little chick lit book... maybe on the lines of The Time Traveler's Wife, which I can also, reasonably, (though I am not always that) can see as being a hokey book. But--- this... no, I can't let it go. Yes... I was menstruating and I'm sorry if that's TMI... it plays an important role in my reviewing of this book because I could be biased or maybe even, like, wrong. But.. no... I don't think so.
First off. This book isn't ONE day. Ok, yes... it's one CALENDAR DAY. July 15th, I think, which is like Groundhog's day for England. Except that they don't have a Punxsutawney Phil, they have some Saint Swithin who was famous for building churches and being charitable. Damn Brits and their high falutin' holidays. So... the legend goes if it rains on St. Swithin's Day, it will rain for the next 40 days and if it's sunny on St. Swithin's day... well, you get it. There may be some sort of subtle play going on here but I couldn't really put it together or didn't really care enough to (yeah yeah yeah 'one day-we'll be together' barf.) Anyway, this is actually like TWENTY TWO days... or maybe 23... I lost count or didn't do the math. And it's spread over 40 something years... so you meet Emma and Dexter on night of their graduation from University where they spend a drunken night half dressed in bed sort of talking sort of not, sort of 'snogging' sort of not. They don't really seem like they'd get along, so I assume it was a random sort of pickup.
Emma is described as one of those pseudo political, Nelson Mendela loving, earthnik frumpy gals. At least that's what I get out of it via Dexter's description, who is kind of dumb and cute and likes to fornicate alot. Now, I hear there is a movie about this, and this is who they chose to play Emma. Um... Okay... sure... she's also been described as 'the spectacled girl with the 'fringe cut' and having 'pup fat' and a 'Rachel' haircut. Sure... this is... um... this is bullshit. Anne Hathaway is fucking gorgeous. Yeah, they say that Emma is pretty in the book and all that but you're led to believe that she's more frumpy and is pining after cute Dex and all that. Well, IMHO, anyway.
Now Dexter, 'Dex', the playboy with a trust fund. (yeah... this works for me... I won't rant about casting on him...) The guy who 'goes with the flow' is so stereotypical. I mean, I guess they try to make him have a soul and all that, but he's a drunk who likes pretty girls and worries about what people think of him. Why would Emma like that if she's so 'deep'? Are all frumpy girls pining for their cute boys-as-friends? I can let you know, from personal experience, NO. We're wondering why our friends who happen to be cute can be so dumb. Dexter is like the Ryan Seacrest of England. Ewww. Yet, each year, on St. Smithin's/Swithin's day, we see Emma thinking about Dex and Dex wishing Em could pull him out of his superficial spotlight... and we see how their 'friendship' grows... how one is working at a texmex restaurant while the other is 'largin' it' on reality TV or how one is writing a book while the other is introducing extreme sports to insomniacs and we're supposed to see the tragedy of these two never connecting or missing their chance or whatever.
Insert Vomiting Unicorn Photo Here.
The writing isn't even that good to pull you in. You see the formula. You know what's going to happen next. Christ. How can people put this shit out? And even worse, how can he say that he uses Thomas Hardy as an influence? HUH? Don't even... And then... then... we get a blurb from Nick Hornby saying "A big, absorbing, smart, fantastically readable on-off love story." I wonder how drunk he was when he wrote that. Seriously.
Yes, I admit that I loved When Harry Met Sally. I am a girl after all, or was... I don't know if it's still PC to say that. But, I did grow up and did get married and did get smart and all that and I can't really condone this. I just can't.
Thing is... the thing that I REALLY hate about this book is that it--- it did it---- it made me cry. I'm so fucking mad at myself (and this book) I didn't want to get sucked in. I didn't even really like these people. I will blame the menstruation. Because as much as a cliche as that is. It is the god honest truth. Still, I sobbed like a girly girl. PFFFT. (less)
Hi!!!!!!! I’m back. Yep. Thought I might have given up on you, right? No way “We’re stuck together like paper to glue / Like a me to a you / Like hone...moreHi!!!!!!! I’m back. Yep. Thought I might have given up on you, right? No way “We’re stuck together like paper to glue / Like a me to a you / Like honey to Pooh / Like the sky is to blue.” You complete me. I can’t quit you. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. Don’t forget I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. I’m very discreet but… I will haunt your dreams.
Get it? I will not be daunted by a horse head in the bed… by a boiled bunny… by giving me free cable… nope. I am strong in my conviction. I love you, Nick Hornby. In Icelandic, that would be: Ég elska þig, Nick Hornby. (it sounds like I’m insulting you, maybe that’s what makes Icelanders so hip now.—maybe I’m just studying the culture so when I show up at your door with a wheelbarrow and a potato sack and some duck tape you’ll sort of know what my plans might be.)
Shakespeare Wrote for Money is another collection of Nick’s columns from his Believer days. More books bought, books read, DVDs bought, movies watched... more of the essential Nick Hornby. This alone should be enough, right? Oh no no no... with an Introduction by Sarah Vowell Sarah! My BFF, my blood sister, the Bridget Fonda to my Jennifer Jason Leigh. Hell yeah! Enough, you say? Where’s the Thorazine to shut this bitch up already you ask?
Wait... there’s more. Nick has discovered YA during these years. I’m sure it has to do with his publishing of Slam and all that goes along with toting it, but get this... HE REVIEWS WEETZIE BAT! My all-time-no-holds-barred-carry-me-to-the-grave FAVORITE book.
“Weetzie Bat is, I suppose, about single mothers and AIDS and homosexuality and loneliness, but that’s like saying that “Desolation Row is about Cinderella and Einstein and Bette Davis. And actually, when I was trying to recall the last time I was exposed to a mind this singular, it was Dylan’s book Chronicles that I thought of—not because Block thinks or writes in a similar way, and she certainly doesn’t write or think about similar things, but because this kind of originality in prose is very rare indeed.”
This is an erotic dream that culminates in an emission of ejaculatory fluid come true.
“Reading begets reading” Nick says.
“I like liking things. It’s just that there are more books to like than anyone can ever read. Which, granted, is an uptown problem, but a problem nonetheless.” Sarah remarks.
My peeps, may I welcome you to my warm bosom...
Nick knocks out these columns between 2006 and 2008. Some of the books that he has reviewed are Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel, Ironweed by William Kennedy, On Chesil Beach, by Ian McEwan, Poppy Shakespeare, by Clare Allan, The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta, Feed by M.T. Anderson--just to name a few. He jumps from sports to biographies to the movie industry (Dr. Doolittle in particular) to musical history to dystopian YA lit and …. do I need an ‘and’? He’s just so awesome.
He read a biography: Thomas Hardy: The Time Torn Man by Claire Tomalin:
“Hardy’s prose is best consumed when you’re young, and your endless craving for misery is left unsatisfied by a diet of the Smiths and incessant parental misunderstanding. When I was seventeen, the scene in Jude the Obscure where Jude’s children hang themselves “becos they are meny” provided much-needed confirmation that adult like was going to be thrillingly, unimaginatively, deliciously awful.”
His review of The Road (compared to mine: a pitiful 12 words: “Cormac McCarthy is a ray of friggin' sunshine on an apocalyptic day....” piece of crap) gives us just enough self centered ‘we are fucked’ attitude to make us want to devour it… even a second time, just to know that Nick is right there beside you.
“The man spends much of the book wondering whether he should shoot his son with their last remaining bullet, just to spare him further pain…. Sometimes you feel like begging the man to use his last bullet on you, rather than the boy. The boy is a fictional creation, after all, but you’re not. You’re really suffering. Reading The Road is rather like attending the beautiful funeral of someone you love who has died young. You’re happy that the ceremony seems to be going so well, and you know you’ll remember the experience for the rest of your life, but the truth is that you’d rather not be there at all.”
This time around, I was lucky to have read a good dozen of the same books---and then proceeded to add another twenty or so to my To-Read list. Thank you Nick… thank you for letting me have these essays. Reading Hornby is extremely pleasurable event.
And to all you non-Believers out there… Þú mega hafa a loka fundur með geðveikur tannlæknir!
Holy wow. That’s it… I am now and forever TEAM GOLDMAN
I want to have this man’s baby. Okay… he’s like 80 and I’m fixed but I would totally untie my t...more Holy wow. That’s it… I am now and forever TEAM GOLDMAN
I want to have this man’s baby. Okay… he’s like 80 and I’m fixed but I would totally untie my tubes for this man. 80 year-olds can still have children, right? How old was Jerry Lewis?… Quick, Google that. Okay, some 94 year old sired a kid. We’ve got time. I fell hard during the Introduction to the 30th edition… and I do NOT read introductions… what’s the point? It was true love during the introduction to the 25th anniversary and I was clearly imagining replacing Helen and Jason with my much more appreciative family a la Fatal Attraction tactics. Then pages 1-32 was my epiphany. We were soulmates. We were Bogie and Bacall, Jamie and Claire, Bella and Edward. He would be mine.
The Princess Bride, the movie, has long been a favorite of mine. Yes, I can quote it. Yes every time I see Wallace Shawn I yell ‘INCONCEIVABLE!’ even when I’m watching My Dinner with Andre (much to the dismay of my film folk friends.) I didn’t think that I really needed to read the book because, well..this is a rare occasion where I thought it might not be as good. STUPID. OHMYGOD. Slap-my-knee-turn-me-blue-stick-my-head-in-a-milk jug. This book must be read.
So, I want to talk about it. I really really do. But, I’m actually going to do one of those spoiler things. Because, well, I believe in surprises. I have often been told about this guilded cage that I supposedly live in and I don’t know, I’m quite comfortable. Take a timely example… Christmas… when I was little, I padded down the basement stairs in my holly hobby footsie pjs and found my parents stash of gifts and looked through EVERYTHING. Let me tell you, that was THE MOST disappointing Christmas ever. From then on, I promised that I would always ALWAYS appreciate a surprise. I would relish in it. So, if you’ve read The Princess Bride, then please continue. I really want to talk to you about this. If you have not… what the fuck are you waiting for?
(view spoiler)[ By now you’ve figured out that yes, I am one of those that totally believed that S. Morgenstern was real. I went to add his books to my ‘to read’ list and couldn’t find him so I just assumed it was out of print and I would have to hunt it down. I got to page 179 and put the book down and began to compose my letter to the publisher requesting the Reunion Scene. Then I had the bright idea to google it. Maybe someone posted it online. The interweb is a beautiful thing. I could plan my trip to Florin… to see the Cliffs of Insanity… to go to the museum!!!!
That was not a smart move. That is when the doubting began. I quickly closed the browser and kept on reading. I laughed, then laughed, then fell deeper into my pit of devotion for William. Lines such as:
"The beef-witted featherbrained rattleskulled clodpated dimdoomed noodle-noggined sapheaded lunk-knobbed boys. " (which, by the way, describes all males except William… and maybe Westley… )
“This was their thirty-third spat of the day—this was long after spats—and he was behind, thirteen to twenty, but he had made up a lot of distance since lunch, when it was seventeen to two against him.”
“He was seventy-five minutes away from his first female murder, and he wondered if he could get his fingers to her throat before even the start of a scream. He had been practicing on giant sausages all the afternoon and had the movements down pretty pat, but then, giant sausages weren’t necks and all the wishing in the world wouldn’t make them so.”
The book is perfect… mostly because I knew all the lines (except the parenthesis lines, which OMG, don’t EVEN get me started.) I have a few odd thoughts…
1. Why make Buttercup so dense? She isn’t vain, but she isn’t exactly Indira Ghandi. I was almost perturbed by that—the leftover of some feminism bug, I think. 2. Why not include Fezzik and Inigo’s Game of Death like adventure into the Zoo of Death. I loved that part!
I think that’s my only real gripe. I believe that this may become my most favoritest book of all time.
And, you know how it all ends. No, not the white horses and Andre the Giant. No, not even the whole teaser in Buttercup’s Baby. But my knowledge that there is no S. Morgenstern. There is no museum or six fingered sword. There is no Helen the bitchy shrink or Jason the fat/not fat son. It was all made up.
But, I believed.
I believed way past when I should have… I am not as ‘Duhhhhh’ as Buttercup, honest. It’s just such a perfect story. (hide spoiler)]
P.S. Mr. Goldman? I am skilled in Home Health Services if you need a live in caretaker. Really. I can be there tomorrow. Say the word. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The Village of Essex Junction, Vermont. This is where I live. How fucking quaint can you get, right? This is straight from our website: “Essex Junctio...moreThe Village of Essex Junction, Vermont. This is where I live. How fucking quaint can you get, right? This is straight from our website: “Essex Junction today is a nearly textbook model of a well planned, human scale, sustainable community. Within the Village borders are three well kept public parks with a full range of recreational facilities, and programs managed by the Essex Junction Recreation and Parks department.” The total area is about 4.6 square miles. We had 9,271 residents at the 2010 census and the big news on our home page is a reminder to ‘Please Refrain from Blowing or Mowing Leaves into the Public Roadway.’
It is the picture perfect New England town. Our schools are exemplary There's no waiting for Superman here, he's snugged out in a Victorian off of Main Street. Our community service is outstanding. We freakin’ rock. Seriously. Stepford wives would leave Stepford to move here. In fact, I’m sure some have. They bring their ceramic coffee mugs to drop off and run after mini vans to have parents sign petitions to keep the arts curriculum at 2 ½ days a week. Hellz yeah. I’m over the damn rainbow and loving it. (although my 14 yr old punk rock cynic self is blustering inside… suburban hell)
So, imagine my complete rubbernecking surprise to find out that back in 1981 two girls were brutally assaulted, raped, tortured, left for dead in the park that we watch our 4th of July fireworks every year? They were leaving the school that my daughter attends, they were my daughter’s age. Holy Hell. I had to learn more. Why? Because I’m sick. I know this… I just can’t imagine it happening here. I also can’t imagine a bullying problem but then again, there’s Essex Junction popping up with bully related suicides (at least 2 in the 7 years that I’ve been here.) Peter Meyer’s ‘Death of Innocence’ (ok, let’s stop right there… Death of Innocence? Really? My god, did this make it to a Lifetime movie?) chronicles the rape/murder and trial in expressive detail. “Despite their wispy frames, the two twelve year olds were accustomed to the often granite-rough climate of their native Vermont, walking more than a mile and a half (note: no school buses in the Village) to and from school every day, even in blizzard-driven drifts of snow.”
Yes… he likes to be descriptive… but I guess this is big amongst true crime writers. Too many times in his long winded portraitures of Essex Junction I had to stop, roll my eyes, and just laugh. Another Note: this was also written in 1985 and he is also the writer of ‘The Yale Murder’ so I really should have known better. Still, this is literally close to home and I am a nosey mofo.
The story is compelling. It WOULD make a great TV movie. It has that element of a sleepy town where no one locks their doors and the big events are the annual Memorial Day Parade (the governor shows up!) and the Block Party in July. To have this type of crime…this atrocity.. happen within our 4.6 square miles is pretty damn inconceivable. Yet….
Missy and Meghan were best friends. Sixth graders who played at the same parks my kids play at, hung out at the same library that my kids hang out, one of them lived on the street next to me…. it was a Friday afternoon and they wanted to take a shortcut near the railroad tracks because it had started to rain (163 days a year of precipitation, approximately.)
Louie and Jamie were teenagers, friends who liked to hang out ,steal from Woolworths, break into cars and…..stuff. Louie was from Burlington, but Jamie was rooted in Essex Jct. Jamie worked at the Lincoln Inn washing dishes; Louie was on probation for some sort of juvenile delinquent act. That day they decided that they were going to ‘get some girls.’ As Meyer’s put it “Both teenagers were quite familiar with the woods next to Maple Street Park, where they had hunted squirrels and scouted possible sites for their rape plans. That week, the two went to the park almost every day…. On Wednesday, by themselves, they found a couple of musty old mattresses in the underbrush.” What a setup, right? Or is it just me that’s really sick? Don’t answer that.
“By now Jamie and Louie were familiar with the Lawton School schedule and knew when the children—Jamie’s brother John being one of them—went home for the day. Their plan this Friday was rudimentary as it had always been. “We were just looking around there to find some squirrels and look for girls,” Jamie later recounted. “If there were no girls, we was going to get squirrels.”
What happened, and what is described, um… vividly… is that Meghan and Missy were dragged into the underbrush, gagged, raped, shot with pellet guns, stabbed, choked and left for dead. Only Meghan made it out alive… most likely because she passed out and they weren’t able to 'enjoy' torturing her---or thought she was dead. Missy ended up with six or seven BB gun shots, and 29 separate wounds (cutting knife, stabbing knife, BB gun, and ‘blunt impact’ wounds). Meghan managed to stagger out to the train tracks where a railroad flagman found her naked with a knife wound to the chest. She looked at him and said ‘Please help me sir, I’ve been raped.’ and collapsed.
Christ. Now, this probably wouldn’t have affected me so much if I weren’t a parent. I know, that’s horrible to say. I wish I didn’t feel that way. It’s all about how something relates to you, you know? If you don’t have kids… this is a tragedy, if you do… this is a fucking nightmare. This happened 30 years ago. The girls are the same age that I am. My kids are about the same age that they were. This takes on a whole new dread. It’s the stuff of many many horror films are based on. But, now it’s everywhere I look. Even 30 years later… my kids traipse this town like it’s their own playland. How can I spread this fear to them.. this could happen…. this DOES happen. Not just then.. but everyday. How do I break that… yeah, okay… I’ll say it… innocence?
Yeah Yeah.. Me-me-me-me….
The book details the manhunt, the trial, the effect on the town and the state. The fact that the juvenile law of 1968 stated “The law in Vermont is such that a juvenile under sixteen is incapable of murder under the law…the juvenile who is treated in juvenile court and found delinquent is, literally, out of the system at age eighteen. At age eighteen the records are expunged, there is no record of the offense and the juvenile is walking around and nobody even knows he committed a crime.” Jamie was only 15 at the time of the rape/murder. He was going to go free in less than 3 years with nothing to note that he was part of this. Louie, on the other hand, would be tried as an adult…he was 16. There was an emergency session of legislature that was spearheaded by two Essex housewives and their 27,350 signatures to petition the call. There were 3 different proposals for change of the juvenile code---One would lower the age from sixteen to fourteen, another would reduce the age to ten, and the third would have no age limit at all. Another issue is that Vermont did not have a Juvenile detention center and juveniles were not allowed to be housed with adults so they were usually placed in the state mental hospital until they turned of age. Can you imagine a state like Vermont having to deal with this? We are farmers and reformed Canadians and some… some… displaced city dwellers… but mostly farmers and mountain folk. Egads. And this was the eighties….
Okay, Okay… those are my highlights… there was no doubt of the guilt… just of who actually killed Missy… technicalities and age debates and putting a poor 13 year old through a trial where the defense, a lawyer named Rusty Valsangiacomo, is asking her questions like: “ Now, what Im trying to ask you—to see if you can remember in your mind whether or not you had a discussion with Susan Via when you went through wnhat happened to you before you started giving Susan a statement that was going to be recorded and typed. Do you understand what I said to you?” “No,” said Meghan tersely.
And… “He asked Meghan if she was embarrassed by talking about having to take her clothes off. Meghan said she was. “I’m embarrassed too,” said Valsangiacomo. “Does that make you feel better?” Meghan only shook her head. “No, I didn’t think so.”
So, this May was the 30th anniversary of the event. Meghan’s daughter is now 12 and attends junior high in Burlington. The crime is pretty much forgotten except by the natives, which, frankly, have been dying out. At one point, most people in the town knew or were related to the victims or the accusers… now I see kids walking the streets that can’t be older than seven or eight. I pass many cars that are unlocked and I have to admit that I forget to lock my house on many occasions. The new juvenile detention center is near the river where I bring my kids to look for frogs and walk the nature trails... What have we learned?
(sorry for the photo links...It's just so unreal that I tried to make it seem more... I guess...)
"Weltschmerz (from the German, meaning world-pain or world-weariness, pronounced [ˈvɛltʃmɛɐ̯ts]) is a term coined by the German author Jean Paul and d...more"Weltschmerz (from the German, meaning world-pain or world-weariness, pronounced [ˈvɛltʃmɛɐ̯ts]) is a term coined by the German author Jean Paul and denotes the kind of feeling experienced by someone who understands that physical reality can never satisfy the demands of the mind. It is also used to denote the feeling of sadness when thinking about the evils of the world."
I’ve learned a new word today. I’m not sure if it’s something that I should incorporate into my vocabulary this close to the holiday, but boy I wish I had known it when I was 16. It’s the best goth word ever.
So, there’s this cool crowd of young adult authors that I’ve recently discovered. John Green, Holly Black, David Levithan, Libba Bray, Barry Lyga… I was never one to yearn for a clique. Until now. I would grovel and sell one of my kids and lick someone’s toe for the chance to be a part of this group. Isn’t that pathetic? Thing is, I’ve been searching for them since freshman year of college after reading Weetzie Bat. I thought ‘Yes! Someone gets me! Someone can be snarky and clever and intelligent and understand all of my sidebar like comments!’ This was my Weltschmertz. I’m not sure if this a noun, but I’m using it as such. I began to believe that it was luck to find Francesca and that I should be glad that I did but there would never be a gang, with a password and a gang knock and all that comes in gangland (suburbia gangland, mind you.) Now I am sad. I am left in the cold, only to consume everything I can from this group. I am at the edge of the group trying to hear all the cool things that they are saying. I write their name on all my book covers, I draw hearts and swirlies around it. I am, unabashedly, a gawker.
So, now that you know how far my devotion goes, let me add another level. This book is written by TWO of them. They went and collaborated just to make me fall deeper. Because, as the book teaches you… It’s about the falling, not the landing.
“i live in a big goddamned weltschermz ocean, you know? and so do you. and so does everyone. because everyone thinks it should be possible just to keep falling and falling forever, to feel the rush of the air on your face as you fall, that air pulling your face into a brilliant goddamned smile. and that should be possible. you should be able to fall forever.”
Isnt’ that… perfect? Will Grayson, Will Grayson is about finding yourself, learning to live with yourself, learning to let go and not give a fuck what other people think, learning to trust and learning to love. Mighty big statement. Formula for every YA book, you say? No. This one is different. This is where talents collide and boys named Will Grayson emerge. They look battered and worn down and they don’t say a lot but when they do… you don’t want them to stop. Will Graysons discover that elusive thing…that ‘love is bound with truth.’ And, boy, they do it damn well.
“i think the idea of a ‘mental health day’ is something completely invented by people who have no clue what it’s like to have bad mental health. the idea that your mind can be aired out in twenty-four hours is kind of like saying heart disease can be cured if you eat the right breakfast cereal. mental health days only exist for people who have the luxury of saying ‘I don’t want to deal with things today’ and then can take the whole day off, while the rest of us are stuck fighting the fights we always fight, with no one really caring one way or another, unless we choose to bring a gun to school or ruin the morning announcements with a suicide.”