i just finished reading this book about twenty minutes ago. it left me in a much different place than it picked me up at, that's for sure.
The author isn't one that I think I'd end up becoming a fan of. the use of language was pretty luke-warm. some things stood out (as you'll see at the bottom of this post) but nothing was outstanding to me. she had a lot of decent pop culture references, often making a horrible habitat out of the city of LA. i even feel like, on a micromanaged basis, nothing was actually happening in terms of the smaller events that took place in this book.
it can almost be summed up into four parts:
- the meeting
- the honeymoon
- the exodus
- the devastation
i only really was enjoying the book as pretty terrible things were happening. for a while, Jacob Grace, the love interest of the narrator of the book, goes off on a Jim Morrisson soul-seeking quest which ends up jilting the whole flow that was going on between the two of them. during the aftermath of that, i was really getting into what was going on. but when things started to look up again, it started to seem like things had peaked, momentarily, and we were going to head back to the plateau.
but then, the devastation comes. much like Vonnegut did in Cat's Cradle, the last pinch of pages are a complete turnaround from the rest of the body of the book. and as much as it was awful, it still had me fucking glued to the pages. if i could, i would quote the entire text of the fifty second chapter. the build up of this entire book (the first two hundred and ninety four pages out of three hundred twenty nine) are meant for these last moments.
i just kept repeating, out loud:
"but he came back... but he came back."
if nothing else, the unleashing of that emotion made the entire book worthwhile.
"It just brought me down."
"...every word he uttered were a self-portrait."
"They forget that grief, or they bury it. I never could."
"...he had that look like he still remembered.... He found value in it. He wasn't plagued by it."
"It flourishes, but it's doomed."
"I wondered if he talked that way because he was a writer, or if he was a writer because he talked that way."
"I was going through my Ayn Rand phase." [note: AYN RAND IS NOT A PHASE!]
"...known only as someone's wife."
"...not yet fat, but has the propensity."
"A space-age Ascension."
"...a shark could beat up a dog."
"I will leave before I am left."
"Our never-quite-blossomed friendship would become a casualty of a breakup."
"How many times in your life are you allowed to say, 'if only...'?"
"'This will never happen in Memphis!'"
"...sustaining an apocalyptic focus..."
"...wet with his mourning."
"...for God's sake, the guy had to hold on to something."
"His father would have been proud of him. His father would have called him up and said, I'm sorry, please be my son because you're everything I always wanted to be but never could become."
"...the house his family inhabited."
"...the chaos he felt."
"...the city up ahead."
"I wanted to be enough to fill the universe inside of Jacob Grace."
"That's what happens when you're raised around a lot of static.
You learn to tune it out."
"To have so many obnoxious people appreciate my work felt like a small failure to me."
"I saw a ghost town."
"I began to hate Jacob. I couldn't think about anything else, just hate."
"He was going to write a book about it someday."
"...her hands were history books."
"...an end could never come to a person who was more alive than anyone I'd ever known."***
"He was more than the sum of the parts..."
"...their lives would be refilled with life."
"...crawling with phantoms..."
"...I believe in the possibility of everything."
"'Thoughts are king, Trixie. King.'"***
"I missed my unforgettable friend.
The days will be brighter because he existed.
The nights will always be darker because he is gone."
"I had to keep going."*****