Jennifer's Reviews > Where Things Come Back

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
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's review
Jul 11, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012
Read from July 11 to 12, 2012

Reading this made my heart ache and my head hurt-- in the best way possible. It's a strange phenomena of living, how people we do not know and will never actually meet can have such a huge affect on us, how this six-degrees-of-separation randomness is simply a part of how lives intertwine.

I can see why John Corey Whaley is being heralded as an author to keep an eye out for in the future; he is straightforward and blunt without losing any of the elegance and art in conveying the depth of the matter. Often times, I found myself rereading a sentence, in awe of how someone else could put forth a simply worded statement that captured so perfectly the essence of something that I have felt and thought as well. It was a bit like looking in the mirror to find a reflection that I actually expected to see, if that makes any sense.

As much as this story revolves around Cullen Witter, I found the story of Cabot Searcy to be much more compelling-- probably because he was the one whose character arced the most throughout the book. (And also because watching someone lose their grip on reality is like passing the site of a car crash on the highway. You just can't turn away.)

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Quotes Jennifer Liked

John Corey Whaley
“People didn't like having to come up with something smart or helpful or sensitive to say, and they weren't intelligent enough to realize that all we wanted, all I wanted, was to be treated the same as I had been three months before. I wanted to be ignored because of my eccentricities, not because of my brother. And I wanted to be offered help from people because they cared about me, not because they felt some strange social obligation to do so. I wanted the world to sit back, listen up, and let me explain to it that when someone is sad and hopeless, the last thing they need to feel is that they are the only ones in the world with that feeling. So, if you feel sorry for someone, don't pretend to be happy. Don't pretend to care only about their problems. People aren't stupid. Not all of us, anyway. If someone's little brother disappears, don't give him a free hamburger to make him feel better-- it doesn't work. It's a good burger, sure, but it means nothing. It means something only to the Mr. Burkes of the world. Offering free meals, free stays in condos in Florida, even free plumbing. And we let them. We let them because they need it, not us. We didn't let them help us because we needed it, we let them help us because inside of humans is this thing, this unnamed need to feel as if we were useful in the world. To feel as if we have something significant to contribute. So, old ladies, make your casseroles and set them on doorsteps. And old men, grill your burgers and give them to teenagers with cynical worldviews. The world can't be satisfied, but that need to fix it all can.”
John Corey Whaley, Where Things Come Back
tags: truth

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