Week #1 Wrapup- The Most Anti-climactic Beginning…Ever*

* Though I suppose that a beginning, by definition, is anti-climactic, because it’s a beginning…you know? Never mind.

Out of all the intriguing items on the list, I chose (chose, mind you!), the most mundane one: Read a book.

Whoop-dee-hot-damn-doo, I know, I know.

But it’s all about small steps, testing the waters, acclamation and such. Personally, I liked it because it was the first time in a long time that I was able to read a book that:
a) was not in Spanish
or
b) didn’t require me to dissect and analyze the structure and meaning to death.

Most of my time this week was eaten up by working, sewing (I made potholders! holla!), 4th-of-julying, and general family drama, but I did manage to squeeze in two books: Howard Buten’s When I Was Five I Killed Myself and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. To be honest, I only chose the first one because the title was so jarring; I’d planned to read Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth, but this book just jumped out at me . It was a decent read, I suppose, told from the perspective of a young boy who is thrown into a mental institution after an altercation with a classmate and general sociopathic behavior. Perhaps the best way to describe it is as a prepubescent Catcher in the Rye of sorts. Meh. Apparently, it’s very popular in France.

Their Eyes Were Watching God, on the other hand, is one of the most beautiful novels I’ve ever read. I should’ve read it a long time ago; it’s on that unspoken, unwritten list of books that every black woman should read (along with The Bluest Eye, The Color Purple, Feminism is For Everyone, all that jazz), I just never got around to it.

What I love about it is that the relationship that develops between Janie and Tea Cake isn’t hokey and contrived. I feel that in a lot of literary romances, the protagonist’s love interest seems one-dimensional; their only role is to further the character development of the main character/plot line. For example, in Buten’s book, Burt’s love interest comes off like a sock puppet: she says and does just the right things at just the right time, without prompting or reason. Clearly, fiction is meant to be a suspension of reality, but it got to be ridiculous after a while.

Their Eyes Were Watching God is just raw and real and beautiful. Idealistic, yet still grounded. I cried like a little girl at the end. Maybe this isn’t very good indicator of anything because I also cried at the end of ‘Ice Age’ (you know that movie with the little prehistoric squirrel with the nut? Yeah, I squirted a few tears…), but I just felt so connected to the characters that I couldn’t help but feel their joy and their pain.

I started thinking: Even though I try to put on a mask of casual apathy, I’m secretly in love with love. I want a love like that one day, a rich, piercing, pear-blossom-and-bee-pollen kind of love. It’s just so terrifying, though. When you open yourself up to a love like that, you open yourself up to so much pain too. Unspeakable, excruciating pain.

Oh well, I suppose that’s life. Anyone who says differently is selling something.  And you can’t run around your whole life trying to avoid pain.  That’s not a life worth living.

Alright! One down, 51 to go.

Hasta pasta,
Camry

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