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Among Others
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2013 Reads > AO: Spookily relatable (possible spoilers)

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message 1: by Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth (last edited Jun 05, 2013 05:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1840 comments A lot of people have commented that they can strongly relate to some of the things in this book, and I can only agree with them - some of the similarities between Mori and me are so odd that it had me half wondering if the book wasn't reading my mind and then altering the story to make it match me better, especially since others seem to feel similarly - how alike are we all??

To clarify, I get on very well with my mother (she's probably my closest friend), I have never had a twin sister, I didn't grow up in Wales or attend a boarding school, and I haven't read anywhere near as many books as she has done in less than half my lifetime (even if I did nothing but read all day I couldn't get through as many books as she did in a week) so clearly I am not this person, but...well, I'll describe some of the similarities and odd coincidences.

One time, while reading this book, I glanced up at a mirror I have which features a rose on the handle. I have another mirror in my drawer which also features roses, and I realised that, quite without intending it, I have collected rose motifs to surround myself with (I'm from Lancashire, too, which has the red rose for it's symbol). This thought had only just occurred to me when I read that the symbol for the school Mori attended was a rose. The motto, Dum Spiro Spero, had been my favourite latin phrase for years.

I often worry about talking to much, but especially when it comes to books. I've taken some English literature classes at university that have discussion like a book group, and I am always concious of over-talking, but even when I'm really trying to listen and not over-talk, something will occur to me and I will just HAVE to speak about it. Much like Mori describes herself after her first time in the book group.

When waiting for busses, I used to try to will them into appearing. I reasoned that the bus I wanted had to be somewhere, so it might as well be just around the corner. I then considered that buses run on a schedule, and that if I willed it to be where I wanted it to be, either the schedule would have to be different, or people would end up missing the bus because of me. In the end, I decided it was more polite just to wait. Okay, Among Others, get out of my head!

I have often noted that, whilst my skin is pale, it isn't pale like other people I know are pale. Apparently, I was a little jaundice when I was a baby (just a little) and I always wondered if that was the reason. See, while other people I know seem to have a pink tone to their skin, mine is more yellow, just like Mori says of herself!

These are just a few examples, there are more, but these are the ones that really made be think the book was reading my mind and sneakily changing the words on the paper.

How about everyone else? Any freaky 'hey, get out of my head' moments, and what were they?


D. H. | 100 comments I related to the character, but more in a general sense. I was the kid who was an outsider, who found companionship in books, and who found in books the ideas I used to understand the world. But really I just didn't want to be an outsider.


Michele | 1154 comments Like Mori I've been a voracious reader all my life, though not limited to scifi and fantasy. I also went through a period of really hating my step-mother. I would have loved to find a karass at that age. Oh and I still try to make stoplights turn green for me.


Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1840 comments Michele wrote: "Oh and I still try to make stoplights turn green for me.
"


Haha, me too! I find that asking them politely works best, and I always say thank you afterwards.


Steve (plinth) | 177 comments One thing about the book I find sad is that when I was a teacher, I had a student who was very much like Mori. She was extremely sharp in all her subjects, but deadpan in her general demeanor. She interacted very little with her peers and always had a book, usually fantasy or SF, with her. If she finished her class work early, she was reading. At lunch, she was reading. Waiting for the bus? Reading. Waiting for class to start? Reading.

She was a tough nut to crack. I could get a smile out of her now and again with a bad pun (is there any other kind?), or a geek joke, but she was usually blocked off from the rest of us.

At one point, I was cleaning out my shelves at home to make room for more books (of course), and filled a couple shopping bags. I gave them to her, saying, "that ought to last you about a week" and hoping that she would use the opportunity to engage. No luck, but I know she went through a bunch of them.

It was a funny school in that there was an endowment in which for the top student would, if they applied and were accepted at a very prestigious local college, be granted 50% of the total tuition. The funny part is that the students who were high ranking had no incentive to take challenging courses since this would hurt their standing. Instead, they took an easier alternative so they could skew things in their favor. It was a shame - kids who should have been taking Calculus wouldn't because they might not do as well in the easier class. These rules didn't apply to P. She took what she wanted and aced it.

I left the job in the middle of her junior year. During her senior year, I was having coffee with the phys ed teacher who managed to get all the gossip and she said, "you know that P. has a boyfriend?" My eyes bugged and my jaw dropped. The phys ed teacher couldn't miss that and said, "yah, I know, right?!" "Does she smile?" "That she does."

Good to hear, but Mori reminds me of her - a beautiful mind closed off from most of us.


Kevin | 701 comments I have barely anything in common with Mori, but I found her one of the most relatable characters I've ever encountered. It's really odd.


Ruth (tilltab) Ashworth | 1840 comments It is odd. Maybe it is because she is so honest. I think Jo Walton must have put a lot of herself into the novel, because a lot of what Mori says rings so true - Mori has the sort of thoughts that real people have. It's very clever writing. I wonder if that means the person I really have so much in common with is the author?

Or else Jo Walton is a witch and cast a spell on the book to MAKE it relatable.


message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim (OldJim) | 15 comments Ruth wrote: "Michele wrote: "Oh and I still try to make stoplights turn green for me.
"

Haha, me too! I find that asking them politely works best, and I always say thank you afterwards."


I use the Abracadabra Shazam approach...and say 'Hahah!'when it works...


message 9: by Joyce (last edited Jun 09, 2013 09:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Joyce (eternity21) | 170 comments I find the character very relatable in that I was around the same age in 1979. A year younger I was 14. I find that the current events that are mentioned and the 'NEW" books were the same ones I wanted to read around that time. Her life circumstances are very different but I can't tell you how many times my mother told me when I was young (after reading a book to me) that "you know this is not real life" and I just didn't care.


Scott | 312 comments I found her really relatable, much for the same reasons as DH- an outsider who found an outlet in fiction. But aside from that, she was relatable for me because I have a disability with my right leg- not nearly to the level of her, but I do have it, which, going back to my first sentence made me a kind of outsider.

Ahhh...the Circular logic! lol


message 11: by Jennifer (last edited Jun 20, 2013 04:49PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jennifer (kassina) | 5 comments Jennifer Gentzel I found her incredibly relatable as well despite not having had a lot of the same life experiences. Her personality and her connection with books is definitely something I can relate with and how she feels when (view spoiler) is very much like how I felt when I found TarValon.net, a book club-type website that has become a very important online community in my life.

I also am an identical twin myself so the twin stuff really hit home. I'm only about halfway through the book, but (view spoiler).

And I used to work in the interlibrary loan department of my college library so I loved her fascination with it! :D


Geekgirl | 9 comments Its easy for me to relate to as I grew up in South Wales, and I devoured books, my local library at points struggled to keep up. I didn't go to boarding school, though I was isolated from my class mates by my love of reading.


message 13: by Robert of Dale (last edited Jun 24, 2013 08:12AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robert of Dale (r_dale) | 185 comments As a 42 year old American man whose parents were always good to me, I think Mori and I are almost the same person. :P There is a lot for me to connect with in this character. When I was her age, I believed in magic of a sort, wished for a Karass with all my heart and soul (though I didn't know that word), wrote a journal, and experienced sleep paralysis (I didn't know what it was, but didn't have anyone to blame it on either), and tried to apply ideas from S/F to my own life.


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