Monday, February 02, 2009

SBD Double!

Lyvvie - why hast thou forsaken the blogging? I dunno. Weird enough is I have plenty to blog about and not much interest in typing it out. Lazy cow. I think I've just let the running commentary in my head flow unchecked and unwritten which is a waste of mental energy really. I figure if I'm going to expend is much energy in thinking up so much inane shit then really I should the least I could do is write it down and share it. Often in the writing it down, it stops and doesn't return.

Does anyone else insist on fixing their own typing errors without resorting to the program dictionary? It's a personal challenge to be able to fix them myself. Fine to underline them but I like to fix my own typos. Some words are always typed wrong, like their. I always type thier. Just saying.

So I read two books this weekend. Fancy that! I went into the library on Friday and picked up four books, thinking to myself I'd never get them all read before the two weeks was up because I'm not in a commit to something kind of frame of mind - or more the point my committing to something is taken up right now on the running and weightlifting and listening to hunger as opposed to kitchen grazing. That all occupies a lot of my fidgeting time. But I have a missing left thimbnail to prove I read most of the weekend - damn bad habit this nail biting but I've got my right hand perfect, but the left sneaks in when I'm not paying attention so I'm missing the thumb and index fingernails.

First book I read was lightning quick and I only picked it up out of curiosity. It's My French Whore; A Love Story by Gene Wilder. that's what got my attention, a love story written by Gene Wilder? Let's just talk about Gene Wilder for a moment, or just listen to me talk about him...there I go with the auditory speech again! Trying to stop that - read my opinions instead. Gene Wilder breaks my heart in every movie I see him in. It's those eyes of his, those eyes that tell so many stories at once. He hides so much depth of feeling and I've always found him very intense. And yet he's a comedian. Who breaks my heart with his eyes and he's written a love story.

It's a really short book, novella really. It was hardback, and larger print so it looked weightier than it was, but it's over in a couple hundred pages. It takes place at the start of WWI, 1918 where out Hero, Paul Peachy is an actor in small town theater. He's just had a great final night and he's headed home to his wife. The magic is gone from their marriage, she doesn't want touched, it's depressing. Paul wants to be loved, wants affection and he's had a cold shoulder for six months now.

One day he was out and sees a troop of soldiers about to be shipped off, all being hugged desperately by wives and girlfriends. Large PDAs everywhere that make him feel envious. So he enlists in the army. He realistically figures his wife won't care so he tells her in a letter that he's going to Europe, but he's paid the rent for the next three months and has gotten her and her mother their jobs back at the bakery. That was thoughtful, don't you think?

In the trenches on the front line not 200 feet from the advancing German line Paul's captain speaks to him. He wants Paul to talk to this German POW, because Paul can speak fluent German. He does and has a very interesting conversation with who turns out to be a very famous German spy who just escaped from the UK. After a few shots of brandy he tells quite a bit and Paul is impressed and the two have instant rapport.

The next morning, the command goes that they're about to storm the German front line. Over the trench everyone goes and are almost immediately slaughtered by gunfire. Paul freaks and runs towards the edge of the woods. He gets away and keeps going a bit farther, hearing the gunshots, having run, knowing he's a coward. There's a tap on his shoulder and the Germans are all around him. They begin to set him up to be shot on the spot when something gets into Peachy's head and he begins to shout, in German at the officers. He goes so far as to convince them he's a German officer undercover, reprimands them, insults them and demands to see the commanding officer. He begins to take on the persona of the German spy who turns out to be a military hero the German echelon.

What follows are a series of events that has Paul jumping fire to be one step ahead of the Germans and maintain his secret identity. Luck being that since the other guy was a spy, no one knows what he looks like.

The love story almost comes second to Paul's adventure. What stands out is how very much he wants to be adored, admired and loved. He wants someone to think he's a hero, and yet he knows he's a coward.

At some time, the German commander-guy asks Paul to come with him to interrogate an American soldier. It turns out to be his Captain. Paul comes up with a plan to get the Captain out of jail with his life. The rest...well I'll ask you to read the story. I loved it. For its brevity it's filled with action, romance, humour and sadness. Could anything Gene Wilder does not have a line of sadness through it? I found myself complaining that it didn't have to end. Why couldn't...WhatsHerFace be in the French Resistance? Were they in WWI?? Ah, apparently not. Damn. I still love Gene Wilder, even though he breaks me heart everytime I look at him.

The second book I read was The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and I read it on recommendation of a friend. It was a hard book for me to read for a couple of reasons; one being that my particular brand on anxiety plays out in morbid daydreams of loved ones dying and how I'll cope with their deaths, or my dying and wondering how others will cope with my death. It's taken a long time to teach myself to not delve into those morbid thoughts so reading a book about a fourteen year old rape and murder victim who spends her afterlife watching the ruins and reconnections of her family and friends was a bit difficult. Secondly is I'm not a big crier. I'm not one of those women who is moved to tears easily. In this book I was bawling by page thirty and it continued pretty much unabated for the whole book. I began to hate the book for making me sad. However it's so well written, and in an easy-to-read style that I carried on.

I carried on with tissues nearby. Would I recommend it? Sure. I think it's one of those books that leaves an impression. Having Susie tell us of her death makes it harder and easier all at once for me to accept it - but then I know the facts and her family does not. Watching their pain was very difficult. Did the story try to be a thriller? Not really. Did it try to be coming of age in the afterlife? Kind of not really too. I don't exactly know where this book was trying to get me. Maybe the overall message was Time Heals All Wounds. As it went, about half way through I began to wonder - where are we going, Susie? What's the point of this book? Where's the plot? Will they catch Mr. Harvey? *sigh* my attention is faltering.

Then there was a bit near the end that I highly disagree with. I'll discuss from now so if you've not read it...skip along after the red.

Of course I'm talking about the scene where Susie possesses Ruth. So does she tell Ray who killed her or where her body is? No, she has sex with him instead. Huh?? I mean her first sexual encounter was the rape before her death so I was surprised she'd have wanted more than the kiss she talked about all the time. I mean they were right there - right at the spot where her remains are, and she never says "Oh just so you know, I'm down there too. In a safe." I found the whole scene desperately annoying and unnecessary.

So there we are. I liked how it was all wrapped up. Although I'd have preferred a better outcome for Harvey. Both books are worth a read.

Now I have to go eat dinner because it smells so nice and my tum's growling. Bye...


V said...

True! I always type "because" as "becuase".

My typing has degenerated badly over the years (using just my right hand and maybe one finger on my left - and then, only if I must)so maybe the typos are typing issues.

Becuase, I really do know how to spell "because".

And so many of the spell checks functions can't be trusted..

Glad you posted!

V said...

Whatever that great big white space is..

Just me getting lost in thought, I geuss (guess).

Brook said...

It can take me a whole day to write a post what with tweaks and spelling and grammer. Only when I am satisfied do use the spell check.
I read "The Lovely Bones" 10 years ago in Zhengzhou. I was up all night reading this gripping book, crying in a roach infested hotel room. A book and night I will never forget.
And I too suffer from morbid fugues-an aspect of OCD as I recently found out-which is prevelant in my family. Whatever!

Ree said...

I loved your assessment of The Lovely Bones. It's one of my favorite "recent" books, but I understand the issue you had with the subject in red. It kind of threw all of the wonderful prose into some strange dimension.

Roxrocks said...

I read Lovely Bones so long ago, I barely remember the story line...that being said, Alice Sebold is a great writer. I know I've read her other stuff too. Don't ask my what though. I seriously have foggy brain syndrome.

trinity67 said...

I'm a freak when it comes to spelling as I'll even type the word in Word so that I can spell-check in there, before I go any further.