Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happily Ever After, Another Meltdown and My Toilette

Read any good books lately?  I have.  I thought I'd share a few thoughts on what I've read recently.  And if I've shared my thoughts on these before, please have the good grace to pretend that you don't remember because I sure don't.

If you haven't read these and you plan to, just know that I'm going to ruin the ending of all of them so there's that.

This is a peculiar little novella about a boy with a cuckoo clock for a heart whose mother told him that if he feels extreme emotion, such as love, the heart will explode and he will die.  Obviously this was her way of keeping her son from falling in love and leaving her but it also has a good message of how we let fear hold us back.  What I liked best about this book was the descriptive prose the author uses.  He paints gorgeous word pictures that completely suck you in and make you feel like you're part of the story.  I could clearly see each scene in my mind and I'm convinced that Tim Burton needs to grab this and make a movie out of it...starring Johnny Depp, of course.

This one is going to be a movie soon and deservedly so.  It's set in Mississippi in the 1960s and is the story of 3 black maids who work for upper/middle class white families.  A white woman who is an aspiring writer and is in the Junior League with the maids' employers convinces the maids to tell their stories for her to put in a book.  It was heart breaking to read about how these black women were treated by the white wenches they worked for and how they feared for their lives just because they were telling their stories.  But there were a few white people, like the woman who was writing the book, who were upset by the injustice.  If I had lived during that era, I hope that I would have been like her.

This one was so-so.  I think there was a made-for-TV movie about it but I didn't see it.  It's set in the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s and is about a doctor whose wife gives birth to twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down's Syndrome.  He tells his wife that the baby girl was stillborn but he actually gives her to his nurse and tells her to take the baby to an institution.  The nurse can't do it and instead runs off and raises the the child as her own.  Through the years the doctor and his wife both suffer a great deal...him from the secret and the lies he told about his baby, and her from believing she'd lost a child.  Sad, but there's a little happy at the end.

This book just pissed me off.  I didn't see the movie so I didn't know what to expect but I thought it was a love story.  If you read it with that in mind, you will be disappointed, trust me.  They do NOT live happily every after in the end.  It's about a 13 year old girl whose misinterpretation of events causes her to falsely accuse her sister's boyfriend of raping her cousin.  The book starts out in 1935 and ends in 1999.  Like I said, it sucks as a love story but it's a brilliant depiction of the mind of a writer and how we tend to view events as part of a story and can often believe our own embellishments.  I cried like a baby at the end and was mad at the author for not letting everyone live happily ever after, but even so it's an amazing book and I highly recommend it. has a very (VERY) distasteful word in it that's only used twice, I think, but is an integral part of the story.

Just in case Atonement didn't rip my heart out enough, I decided to follow it up with this one. It's is a love story set in 1899 and is about a 40 year old married-with-children doctor who falls in love with a 15 year old girl.  The author somehow manages to make you forget that the man's a pedophile, which obviously wasn't a crime back then, but there are all kinds of consequences for the relationship which produced a child.  You end up hoping the couple will end up together in the end, which they do, but at the same time you feel really, really badly for the doctor's family and the baby that was taken from the girl and all that.  So basically, they live happily ever after but you're not really all that happy for them.  It was an okay book I guess, but the conflicting emotions it produced caused me to have a meltdown.

I know better than to read books that make me emote which is why I tend to stick to really trashy romance novels.  I can read 2 a week and there's always a happy ending.  The way God intended.  But they tend to get boring since there's only so many variations of the boy meets girl, conflict is introduced, then they all live happily ever after scenario.

Shortly after I finished Fortune's Rocks, which like I said was okay but not a spectacular read, I had an unexpected 12 hour crying spell.  This is unusual for me since I rarely cry, or emote in any way really, and I couldn't even identify what I was crying about.  But let me tell you, it was the ugly cry...the wailing, hiccuping, covered in snot kind of cry.

It started around midnight on Friday night and didn't end until noonish on Saturday.  Jayson was on his way into town so I sent him a text message and warned him of the state I was in.  To my surprise, he showed up anyway.

By Saturday afternoon I had calmed down and collected myself enough to be able to take my daily medications, without which I simply cannot function.  I have several pills I have to take for my heart and my blood pressure, I take a daily allergy pill, a pill for my narcolepsy, and a mild antidepressant that keeps me from killing my husband and driving my car off the nearest cliff.

As I was opening my little medicine bottles, I glanced down and saw a pill lying on the floor.  It was my antidepressant.  I usually just dump all the pills in my hand and knock 'em back at the same time like any other experienced junkie.  As I stared at the little Effexor on the floor, I decided it must have fallen out of my hand the day before when I did my knock 'em back thing.

That explained a lot.

I walked into the living room with my handful of drugs and told Jayson the story of the fallen Effexor.  We determined that was probably the cause of my excessive emoting since it's happened before, if you remember The Missing Watch Meltdown of '07.

I took my meds and Jayson made me open my mouth and lift my tongue like I was a mental patient.  Oh, wait.  I am a mental patient.  And I'm the poster child for anyone who has doubts about depression being biological...or physiological.  Whatever.  It's not just a lack of coping skills.

Since I consider myself to be of slightly above average intelligence and certainly capable of learning from my mistakes, I chose my next book very carefully.  It's another turn of the century Anita Shreve romance called "All He Ever Wanted".  It's about a professor who becomes obsessed with a woman and convinces her to marry him even though he knows she doesn't love him.  He ends up doing some really bad things to get what he wants so they don't live happily ever after either. 

I'm not sure why I picked this one other than the early 1900s setting.  I love the way they talked back then.  Instead of saying, "I finished getting dressed this morning," they say, "I finished my toilette".  I'm going to start saying that.  When Jayson bangs on the bathroom door and asks what I'm doing (which is a super stupid and dangerous question because I will tell him in graphic detail), I will say, "I am completing my toilette".


lissa said...

Just 2 hours ago I came back from the library with Ms. Shreve's latest, Rescue. I have loved her books since reading The Pilot's Wife and she is a writer who can evoke the emotions without laying it on too thick. I recommend virtually every book she has written.

If you want a gem of an experience, read Emma Donoghue's'll look at the world with different eyes. Not shmaltzy in any way, shape or form, but definitely tugs heartstrings. HIGHLY recommended!!

Shannon Green said...

Oh crap! I've read Room, just recently in fact and I forgot to include it! I really liked it although I thought the ending was a little weak.

lissa said...

It was a little rushed but then, the ending came too fast for me anyway...I reveled in Jack's guided tour of my world in his eyes...I just PRAY they do not decide to make a movie out of this. There is no way that would translate to anything but a movie-of-the-week. Its magic is in its writing. Period.

Shannon Green said...

It would take an incredibly talented young actor to pull off the role of Jack. I just can't see many 5 year olds being able to do that.