We're told not to, but I sometimes do judge a book by its cover. At least once in my life, it has paid off. I first read this book because I saw it la...moreWe're told not to, but I sometimes do judge a book by its cover. At least once in my life, it has paid off. I first read this book because I saw it laying under the desk of a girl in my French class in 8th grade and was immediately attracted to it- the constrast of blue against white and the separation and duality of the girl between.
It was beautiful and strange and thought-provoking and somehow irrationally felt as close to me as some crazy friend who'd been trapped in my own brain for thirteen years. The author at once seemed to be a part of me that hadn't yet been able to speak, and a complete stranger who frightened and compelled me.
I've returned to it time and time again and each time have found new truths and new absurdities. It so accurately and curiously expresses the truths of a mind in distress and the questioning of a woman in the making (and particularly of a woman approaching adulthood in the 1960's, while psychology was still a relatively new field). I lead a book club discussion of it some years ago and was startled at the stark honesty that it inspired in us as we talked, regardless of whether we actually liked the book or not.
To me, the book has nearly no relation to the movie other than the slight similarities between the premises. Where the movie may introduce you to interesting characters and attempt to give you a linear story, it has no way to bring you into the complex and contradictory inner world of the author.
I will recommend to anyone to give it a try, because I believe what you discover in it speaks not of the book itself, but of who you as the reader are.(less)
I must have brought at least three books to Paris with me for the summer, and I read them all within the first week or two. So it was that I found mys...moreI must have brought at least three books to Paris with me for the summer, and I read them all within the first week or two. So it was that I found myself to be extremely bored trekking with Stephanie through Paris to all of these different offices to make sure her student visa was in order. And as I waited in the hall, I pulled this book from her bag which she'd been to busy to read yet.
And I couldn't stop laughing. From page one, I was hooked and laughing in a loud, ugly, American way, while all of the Parisians with their polite, small smiles would roll their eyes at the stupid American girl on the metro, in the park, at the cafe, who was too loud for her own good.
When, midway through the book, the author actually finds himself in France, learning French, I would stop Stephanie's studying ever 3-4 minutes to read outloud to her some hilarious passage that seemed far too relatable. Simultaneously going to school in France and reading about such similar adventures written much cleverer than I could imagine was a singular experience, and one that I treasure.
It will always make me think of interrupting Stephanie in the middle of whatever she was engaged in by hitting her arm clumsily and trying to read outloud in between uncontainable bursts of laughter. Such fabulous times.(less)
Beautiful. Just beautiful. I want to read it again immediately, with the end perspective in mind- to pick up on all the hints and make all the connect...moreBeautiful. Just beautiful. I want to read it again immediately, with the end perspective in mind- to pick up on all the hints and make all the connections that you just can't on the way through the first time.
Alas, I have far too many things to get through right now. Perhaps I'll be able to make some time for it in a few months. I want everyone I know to read it so we can discuss it! And I also think a few of my friends would really dig it.
I held off on this book for a long time. It was too popular, I had too many friends gushing over it and (knowing I'd probably enjoy it), didn't want t...moreI held off on this book for a long time. It was too popular, I had too many friends gushing over it and (knowing I'd probably enjoy it), didn't want to give the impression that I was copying anyone else in my reading tastes. It sounds ridiculous. It was. But I needed to do it separate from everyone else.
I flew through sections and then flew back to really indulge in them. It became a very personal thing, related to all of the things that were important to me at the time (ex-lovers and ex-whatevers, spirituality, memories of europe, my already-developed longing for india, reclaiming a sense of self out of the ashes of the past)... I started underlining, double-underling, squiggly-underlining, drawing boxes around whole paragraphs. There are notes in the margins about what made me laugh, what reminded me of what, and who reminded me of who. India is just... covered in that damn pen. That section was about everything I needed right then.
Flaws in the writing didn't bother me, flaws in her character hardly ever bothered me. The book was barely a book- it somehow became an impetus through which I came to terms with things I was discovering and dealing with in my own life. As soon as I was done, I'm pretty sure I fairly shoved it into Min's hands and commanded her to read.
I'm convinced that no two people read the same book here. Everyone I talk about this book with has had very different, sometimes very personal experiences with it. It's whatever it is for everyone else. I'm grateful it was what is was for me.(less)
Picked it up while walking through a bookstore soon after it was released. Loved it.
Most recent re-read was in February of 2006, as part of a book clu...morePicked it up while walking through a bookstore soon after it was released. Loved it.
Most recent re-read was in February of 2006, as part of a book club discussion where we who had read it wanted to compare it with the movie, which didn't actually happen, as I recall. However, I enjoyed the re-read immensely as I did it in tandem with a new friend who was reading for the first time after seeing the film. Lots of new insights.(less)
Of all of the times I've read this little book over the past 14 years, what struck me the very most this time was how m...morere-read: march 31-april 1, 2010
Of all of the times I've read this little book over the past 14 years, what struck me the very most this time was how my deep love of Francesca Lia Block's prose has affected my own style. Which may be more of a compliment than I deserve. Whatever the case, she is a goddess and I adore this book as much as I did when I first picked it up 14 years ago.(less)
Knowing that this was one of my favorite books of all time, my sister gave me this beautiful hard-bound copy for Christmas one year. I was terrified t...moreKnowing that this was one of my favorite books of all time, my sister gave me this beautiful hard-bound copy for Christmas one year. I was terrified to read this copy for a while, it was so pretty on the shelf. Finally gave it a proper read through (being oh so lovingly careful!) and it rewarded me generously, as always.(less)