Paquita Maria Sanchez's Reviews > Thérèse Raquin

Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola
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Dec 06, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: literature

Somewhere within the spectrum occupied by anything from Romeo and Juliet to Tromeo and Juliet, there is a well-trodden path full of whispers, whimpers and piercing screams about the miseries of the love process. Whether you are tragically in love with your enemy's hottie boomdottie tween daughter or banging your best friend's girlfriend in an alleyway behind a bar all 2-minute-meal-style, Jonathan Richman had it almost exactly right when he explained to his (soon to be) adoring fans that "true love is not nice." As an afterthought to Johnny Boy's sage words, I would like to extend that lyric to include the concept of "true lust." Because there is (sadly, more often that not, though not ideally) a difference. "True Lust" in the sense that I am speaking of is an extension of infatuation, a sudden amorous obsession for another person fueled by the fact that your feelings for this individual (and the ensuing gropings and fornication-sessions) are wrong, dirty, hedonistic, secret, crass, selfish, and therefore exciting. People become bogged down by their lives, relationships go stale, the same old somebody starts to feel like a fly to shoo away, and you start cocking your head sideways in search of something (someone) new to serve as a sort of febreeze bottle for your life, your sense of self-satisfaction, and your general feelings of self-worth. Someone to fill the hole in your heart that really needs to be addressed by serious inner-dialogue rather than things like serial monogamy, cheating, hoeing around and the like. Unfortunately, we self-obsessed, naive, give-it-to-me-now modern folks tend to take the "easy" way out, and so we spread our legs and pray for a miracle, regardless of who and what we may leave in the dust behind us. We direct our own issues toward another individual, projecting our pain onto them as if they are going to absorb it like a sponge, ring it out, and make it all wash away 1, 2, 3. With the exception of a few well-known cases of controversial love gone right (June and Johnny, John and Yoko, etc), what generally happens despite our best efforts to combat it is the wind eventually shifts and the dirt flies back in our faces anyway...and usually with increased density. Oftentimes, the real killer is the guilt. Trust me when I say that sowing romance in the soil of controversy is like watering your seeds with lava.

Well, this is a story about all that, however it is presented through a drastically heightened plot-line. You know, the old "I don't want to give up the money but I want to keep having sex with you all the time and my husband is really just in proper cock-blocking form about the whole thing, so obviously our only option is to kill him" prickly pickly conundrum. Before you get angry at me for spoiling the story, however, keep in mind that this is only the beginning of what transpires. Rather than wasting precious page-space on the elaborate thought-process leading up to this cold-blooded murder, Zola chose to focus his examination more closely on the aftershock of such a decision. The guilt...the way it kills passion, the way it eats you up inside and makes you detest whatever is associated with that acid-feeling in your stomach. You know, like that lover that was so important and true-lovey before. Through a series of brutal exchanges between the two main characters, Zola dissects the rationalizations we use to make shitty decisions which treat people like shit and turn us into shit, leaving us feeling all shitty in the end. Zola's perceptions about both the way we mask our true intentions and the way we rid ourselves of guilt are right on point. He knew. He has played this game before. Everyone has done wrong by someone else for the sake of their own immediate gain. And sometimes, that wrong-doing involves strangling and drowning someone. It will, however, come back to haunt you in the end. I will stop here, as this is about all that I can reveal without spoiling the story. Just know that there is some Raskolnikov-esque guilt-fueled lashing, but rather than directing it at themselves, the two lovebirds turn it on one another. And it gets...ugly. Butchya know...true lust is not nice, after all. Unless it is between two consenting adults who have, you know, actual love and respect mixed in there, as well. In which case by all means lust it up, kids. Get nasty astral.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Paquita Maria Sanchez Why, thank you kindly.

Paul Bryant Ooooff.

Paquita Maria Sanchez Off? On? Ooof? Boof? Wooof wooooooof? TRUTH! Yes, I will settle with "truth." Amen, brother.

message 4: by D. (new)

D. Pow you really can write.

message 5: by Eric (new)

Eric Such a good review!

Paquita Maria Sanchez I actually just blushed. In the privacy of my room. At 8 in the morning. While snowed in. So weird...
To further illustrate, I am drinking a vitamin water in the dark while smoking a cigarette and noting the ridiculousness of the combination. Listening to Iggy Pop in the dark. Blushing. Feeling ridiculous. Petting a kittie named John McClane. All truths. Who listens to Iggy Pop at 8 in the morning?

message 7: by Jenn(ifer) (new)

Jenn(ifer) Wow! Great great Great!

ilovebakedgoods (Teresa) Props for Tromeo and Juliet.

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