Monday, July 25, 2005

A Fallen Woman Finishes Another Book

On Friday, 7/22, I finished reading Dear Zoe. Finishing three books in one week is a big accomplishment for me, so I feel the need to document. Also, I really enjoyed reading Dear Zoe. When I finished I wrote a blog entry in my paper journal. I'm just going to copy it here.

I just finished reading Dear Zoe. I wish I was home alone so I could have a good cry now. Valerie is here. We had gone to Cafe Artiste earlier but came back here to finish our books (she's reading Three Junes). I thought I would finish reading and wait out the rain, then walk at 7:00. Unfortunately, my clumsiness, rain or not, will keep me from walking today.

When we got back to my apartment, it was raining, and I was running my mouth, always, and running up the stairs when I slammed my left foot into a concrete step. After of moment of stunned suspension, I proceeded to fall up the stairs, slamming my leg into another concrete step. The Coke that I had just bought slammed to the sidewalk below--an acceptable loss, easily replaceable. My book and the take home container of blackberry cobble landed safely on a stair albeit not without some minor injuries--those losses I could not have borne. :-) I actually almost started to cry, but then I realized that I'm a big girl, one who's fallen before and will likely fall again, so I stopped myself. Besides I didn't want to cry in front of Valeria or anyone else for that matter. I prefer to do my crying in solitude. Though I'm sure she would have taken care of me if I had. She's nice like that. Only superficial wounds to clean then I could get back to finishing my book, which I did.

So what did I think of Dear Zoe? I thought it a very straightforward, epistolary, coming of age novel, a genre that I really don't care for. I liked the premise of this one though. On a day when a whole nation was rocked by a great tragedy, a family's small world is rocked by it's own smaller (in the eyes of the world only) tragedy, which makes dealing with their tragedy a bit more difficult. The narrative voice--Tess, a fifteen-year-old girl who is aware of how her world works, but not without some blind spots--is extremely well done. Despite some unbelievable plot twists, I found lots to like about this novel. The no-good but loving dad Nick and the almost perfect step-dad David make good foils, though not angry or antagonistic. They both recognize their limitations and try to do the best they can within their limits. I like that they don't try to punish each other, but they aren't friends either. The author works very hard to draw emotions in the last chapter, but I don't think that detracts from the novel. I think he speaks, through Tess, a lot of truth about the loss of a loved one, and some may find it a bit sappy, but I thought it sounded like a fifteen year old girl, which is what it should have sounded like.

The rest of my writing on Friday was about what book I would read next. Two days have passed and I'm almost half finished with Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy L. Sayers. A British mystery published in 1937, I have a real affinity for things British, especially mystery novels.


Valerie said...

I'm sorry that you felt like you couldn't cry over your book because of me. :(

Kim said...

No need to apologize. I have cried beside you at movies before, but I guess the dark theater makes me feel less silly, and I wasn't the only one crying. This time, I would have been crying over more than just the book, and I need to be alone when I have a really good cry--loss of control, culminating in wallowing in bed, not a pretty sight. And you know I want to be pretty. ;-)