Kristyn Conner's Reviews > The Pickup

The Pickup by Nadine Gordimer
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's review
May 07, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: books-i-own, read-in-2011

I had picked up this novel on a whim, and after reading the synopsis on the back cover, I was convinced that I would immediately fall in love with this story: as an international relations major, I love any tale that takes place abroad and that involves a culture that is entirely different from my own. The Pickup sat on my bookshelf for a few months until I finally grabbed it on my way to the park one day, and from that point forward, I struggled with what was soon to become my biggest love-hate relationship with a piece of literature.

I mean, I loved the plot. Loved it. Man picks up woman (or does Woman pick up Man?), and they begin a ferociously fast-paced relationship which eventually leads to a swift marriage and a reluctant deportation back to Man's native (north African? Middle Eastern?) country. The protagonist, Julie, was likable in many regards... but ultimately, I don't think I was able to overcome my frustration with her naïveté. There were times when I wanted to hold the book up to my face and scream directly into its pages: "He doesn't love you, Julie! God, woman, can't you see that he's only using you and your race/wealth in order to immigrate to another country?" But I refrained from such foolish behavior, because in the end, I fell in love with Julie Summers and with her independent nature.

One thing that I struggled with in the beginning was the way in which Gordimer narrates her story. It was extremely difficult at times to decipher exactly which character the author had intended to be speaking, and I got the feeling that Gordimer probably secretly gets some sort of sick pleasure in having her readers glance over the same passage two or three times in order to figure out what she is saying. It was, without a doubt, one of the longest short books I've ever read.
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Reading Progress

May 7, 2011 – Started Reading
May 7, 2011 – Shelved
May 7, 2011 – Shelved as: books-i-own
May 7, 2011 –
page 20
May 9, 2011 –
page 57
May 13, 2011 –
page 86
May 13, 2011 –
page 109
May 13, 2011 –
page 134
May 13, 2011 –
page 160
May 13, 2011 –
page 195
May 13, 2011 –
page 206
May 14, 2011 –
page 235
May 14, 2011 – Shelved as: read-in-2011
May 14, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Fadi He did love her, he is just a man from another culture and probably doesn't show/isn't accustomed to showing love as you would expect. It's much like a stranger entering a new society which he has no idea about, doesn't know how it works; what to do; how to act; and is probably always haunted by the questions: "How did this ever happen to me? What did i do right? WHY is she doing this? How could she ever even look at me? A grease-monkey like myself." Didn't you sense how hurt/angry he was when she decided that she wasn't going? He wouldn't have given a damn if he didn't care for her and really was using her for her race and wealth, or just to get to America. I am sure that she was the best thing that ever happened to him, and he knew it.

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