Friday, June 26, 2009

Pretend you are in my Book Club

Last night, after chatter about the book (The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Society--which ALL of you should read) subsided, Laurie asked if anyone had a good summer reading suggestion. I said, "I read a book no one should read." It was Push, by Sapphire.
After explaining the premise (it is about an illiterate, overweight 16 year old, who was sexually abused by her mother, impregnated twice by her father, suspended from school for being pregnant, and finally learning to read in an alt ed class) everyone wanted to know why I read it in the first place, and why I didn't put it down after the first chapter. So now, pretend you are my book club and I actually have a good response for you.
Reticent, I explained why/how I read it in the first place. I don't watch rated R movies and I saw Oprah was pushing the movie (Precious-based on the book) from Sundance and I knew it would be rated nothing less. But it had MoNique in it (who I enjoy)playing a dramatic role, so I thought I'd try it. (Sounded as lame then as it does now repeating it. Thankfully someone changed the subject.)

Here is what I should have said:
Once I was into the book, the victim advocate in me took over. Much of feminist writing emphasizes 'voice'--usually the loss of it. I felt a personal responsiblity to hear her voice. Victims often times are ignored or hushed because no one wants to hear the gory details. No one wants to hear the pain. No one wants to know things like that happen in places like this... SO, what? I can't read what happened to this woman, because it bothers me too much? That's not my style. She had to live through it. I know it doesn't make sense, and in hind sight, I should have walked away, but I was waiting for redemption. Some sort of salvation. I needed justice.

I forgot these stories don't end in justice. Instead, I was reminded of why I had to walk away from my passion in the first place. And thus my need for a rainbows and unicorns book.


Beth Freestone said...

So should I read it or not? Is it a true story? I haven't read or seen anything really upsetting for a long time and don't know if I want to. I wish I was in your book club. I've never been in one. Maybe I could write a sad book about the lady who never got invited to be in a book club. Just kidding-had the lighten the mood a bit. Maybe I can book-club vicariously through you!

Bob and Joan said...

Well said! It has been stated many times lately that everyone needs a friend. You were her friend. You felt her pain. She felt your love and through your experience we can send love to her and seek to be more loving on a daily basis always looking for the one who needs a friend.

Lauren in GA said...

Jaime, I so get this post. Okay, we know I don't read without slipping into a coma because of my problem with falling asleep when I read, point is...when I do read I really like to learn about the "human experience"...however painful and heartbreaking it may be. Someone asked me recently why I was reading The Diary of Anne Frank the a few months ago (while my kids played at the park, no less)(I know, I am not in 9th grade) and told me how they think it is weird when people read depressing books. I didn't have an articulate way to explain why I like books about the Holocaust or other depressing subjects.

You really summed it up nicely here. I agree...I want the writer to have a, "voice".

You know when I was in Blacksburg Ward before I was even married your Mom taught an awesome RS lesson about women's roles in the church. She opened her lesson with a very intense story about a woman (in modern day) who was tortured for her beliefs (modern day being 1989) Her lesson made a huge impact on me. It taught me to be grateful for my life and my situation. Many sisters squirmed in their seats and I thought it was actually a productive and wonderful thing that we heard those things and felt so uncomfortable.

Jenny said...

Thank you Jaime for expressing that so well.