Zooey's Reviews > Good Morning, Midnight

Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
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's review
Nov 26, 2010

really liked it

This book generally gets good reviews and I, for one, agree completely. This book describes a very moving story of a woman who is desperately trying to escape the past and run from the future. Sasha, or Sophia Jansen (she changed her name, somewhere in her life) is a very damaged person, which is why she has made up her mind to drink herself to death. Only, instead of doing this in one evening like the teen trend is nowadays, she takes a period of months or even years to accomplish this.

Sophia (I like that name better, so that is what I will be calling her) spends her days avoiding certain places, avoiding crying in public and avoiding people. The book is written entirely from her point of view, so we learn that she is past 'being liked, I just want to be left alone'. The striking thing is that throughout the book, she doesn't allow herself to be left alone. She meets Russians and a Maroccan, and with them she visits places that bring up a lot of (bad) memories to her.

Although it seems unlikely, there is a beautiful character development. We learn about her past, what makes her so damaged and caused her lack of trust in people. She generally finds people cruel, but then someone crosses her path and makes her re-think things. We read about Sophia in different stages or phases in her life, with different thoughts and different feelings. The captivating element of this book is not so much the actual events, but really how human the main character actually is.

Loneliness, low self-esteem, irrational thoughts, not knowing who we can trust and trusting the wrong people... it's something we can all relate too. We all come across it once in our lives, whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not. And this book expresses all these thoughts that we are constantly denying ourselves to think. And that is what makes it worthy of at least four stars.

There are sudden flashbacks in the books that pop up in the middle of the present. Really, it is confusing sometimes. I've held the book upside-down, trying to discover a print that said 'time-machine now' or 'dream mode on'. No such thing. This is a book for which you need your attention permanently. I think I lost mine near the end, because the ending of the book was lost on me. And apparently, on Google too, cause I could not find an explanation anywhere.

I took off half a star for hurting a kitten. I think I'm going to start teaching writing classes and I'll open with the question: What do we do with animals? And then the answer: We love them! We save them! We set them free! And the latter in such a way that does not involve shoo-ing them out of a room and out on the street where it gets run over.

In the end, I think that Sophia's life has been rather tragic and the author has done the best job in trying to convey that message to her readers. Really, after Sophacles' Oedipus Rex, only Hallmark movies involve more tears. Like the one I've got playing on the background now, where somebody is declaring that his significant other 'should not come to hospital when he's dying, because he rather disappears when he feels that his time is coming'. Sad, no? Definitely yes!

To those that are looking for an eventful story, you can just forget about this one. Not much is happening, but the raw emotion is enough to make this book a worthy classic, one to be remembered forever.

~Zooey Iding
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Reading Progress

November 26, 2010 – Started Reading
November 26, 2010 – Shelved
November 26, 2010 –
page 16
November 27, 2010 –
page 38
November 30, 2010 –
page 66
December 1, 2010 – Finished Reading

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