DUCKS reading support group discussion

13 views
Week 2, Day 2 - loc 6139, p378UK/p368US (ish)

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Angel (last edited Jul 21, 2020 11:04AM) (new)

Angel Belsey (angelbelsey) | 119 comments Mod
Today we are stopping at "the fact that Leo was married to someone before me, an iguana, the fact that she had an iguana, she wasn't an iguana herself," which revelation follows a small discussion about how Ronny (Narrator's admirer/sex pest) is a MAGA dude.


message 2: by Angel (new)

Angel Belsey (angelbelsey) | 119 comments Mod
This section is called “aphid grandma.”

I’m glad Narrator was a history teacher because I’m learning a lot of history from her. I had no idea about the Moravian massacre or the Sand Creek massacre, but it doesn’t surprise me, this extra bit of knowledge about America’s shameful, bloody past, recalled among a madeleine baking session.

There’s something else interesting in that: Narrator can’t remember and claims she wants to forget, but she actively and on purpose taught history: the one subject that is devoted to remembering things.

I’m no good at Latin unless I’m singing it, so what does “Omnes tenebrae videre non possum” (her erstwhile employer's motto) actually mean? A google translate suggests it’s something like “I can’t see in the dark” or maybe “I can’t see because it’s too dark” but that seems unlikely—then again, maybe not so unlikely?

I’m interested to learn that despite Narrator’s interest in clean air and clean water and social justice, she’s not at all into the idea of protest, mainly out of fear of annoying or offending people, which I guess comes out of her anxiety. But speaking as an anxious person who doesn’t particularly want to antagonize my neighbors, I absolutely do want to protest things that are unjust. (Then again, I also have a problem with authority and always have, so maybe this is simply a personality difference.)

She’s all over the place in this, but one main theme is that we learn more about her Daddy: how he intimidated her when she was young, without meaning to; how he was a softie at heart, affected by sappy movies and so on, but how she still always felt she was a disappointment to him. How he died before her Mommy even though Mommy had been sick for far longer. Narrator mentions her dad far less in this than her mother, but she is still affected deeply by the way their relationship was, especially by her desire for his approval.

Great news for Narrator in this section: the cocktail party is CANCELLED. Bad news, though: Ronny is here hauling her feed around (I think? She's certainly thinking about him in any case) and she is trying to keep it formal so he doesn’t keep talking to her.

We get another lion episode, this one talking about the dreams of the lions, with a particular focus on the kittens, who also dream of their future but with no idea what reality really holds for lions. There is an obvious contrast here, especially with idealistic Stacey and bookworm Ben with all his phobias.

UNRELIABLE NARRATOR ALERT: She claims she doesn’t like musicals and indeed has always tried to avoid them! Honey, we've read your mind, and we know better.

Homework: have a look at the crazy Woodrow Wilson portrait she mentions (and more).


message 3: by Lee (new)

Lee Razer (lelandrazer) | 27 comments Angel wrote: "I’m glad Narrator was a history teacher because I’m learning a lot of history from her. I had no idea about the Moravian massacre or the Sand Creek massacre..."

I did what I often do and put my book down and went on a long Wikipedia-and-Google fueled dive for more information about something I just read. I'd also never heard of this and the bit about Builderbeck being cut up slowly in revenge was irresistible... like, WHAT?! I didn't really find anything about that part of it, though I read about the hours long torture and killing of another American militia commander who was captured while leading some of the same men (but who wasn't present himself at the massacre) so maybe that got condensed into the same individual. Plenty of fascinatingly gory stuff in history isn't it.

You didn't mention what raised my eyebrows the most in this section... complete with a little doodle of a face with raised eyebrows in the margin of my copy. Narrator and Leo made love for the first time in months, she says, it was like a miracle, and she supposes her feelings for him are still somewhere, laying around, being dormant. Passion gone after three cubs.

We learn Leo is a big Bernie Sanders supporter, right on, Leo. With Narrator musing about Eugene Debs a couple of times as well, it was a section for shout outs to American socialists. There's also a musing on the difference between how conservatives and liberals want their children to be - obedient vs. independent, respectful vs. curious. Sounds about right I suppose.

Narrator thought a lot about suicide when she was younger, though now in the giant scheme of the universe a few decades of existence seems paltry enough so not to merit its intentional cutting short, and she wonders if Stacy thinks about suicide, oh dear, and the fact that kids have record levels of anxiety these days, probably from the ever present social media, which we fortunately didn't have growing up. This all rings true. Having kids and wondering what's going on in their heads can certainly be tough on the ol' nerves.

To close out this section, I'll reminisce based on the fact that she recommends that everyone have a pet mouse. I had a pet white rat at Hendrix, adopted from the psychology lab. We named her Svetlana. She was such a great rat, very friendly and personable. We let her run around the apartment a lot, she favored curling up to sleep in a plastic cup tipped over on its side on a counter, really cute. She went on a trip to the Hendrix library one evening and got herself stuck in a librarian's hoop earring. But the best story involves a small party, a shriek, a rustling noise from inside a bag of potato chips, and a tale of a white blur seen from the corner of an eye flying through the air from the top of a couch. Ah, Svetlana, you were a great little animal.


message 4: by Angel (new)

Angel Belsey (angelbelsey) | 119 comments Mod
Lee wrote: "You didn't mention what raised my eyebrows the most in this section"

OH YEAH! I totally meant to mention that but it got cut out of my notes somehow. Yes--she has mentioned that she wishes it happened more often but they're both terrible at initiating. So, good work Narrator and Leo.

Lee wrote: "I had a pet white rat at Hendrix, adopted from the psychology lab. We named her Svetlana."

Did I know Svetlana? She sounds like a sweetie. Mind you, the one experience I remember involving white rats at Hendrix involved a snake. Possibly not a story to tell at this moment!


message 5: by Lee (new)

Lee Razer (lelandrazer) | 27 comments Angel wrote: "Yes--she has mentioned that she wishes it happened more often but they're both terrible at initiating...."

Ah right, I'd forgotten that, which does seem on theme with this novel.


back to top