Katie Reads (at least theoretically)

April 7, 2012

OK, So I Haven’t Posted in Two Years

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Katie @ 5:24 pm

And in the meantime, I’ve read many books and many zines—many, many more than I can recall here to make up for the inexcusable gap in time (especially when it comes to blogging.) I don’t know what sealed my fate with this blog, if it is was just that things were getting busier for me, or that I was reading less, but probably a combination of the two.

Lately I have been reading a lot. It happened because I put a few books on hold at the library for myself several months ago. Some of them were pretty popular, so I signed up, received my number in line (~362) and resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be reading them for many months. Anyway, many months passed and all of a sudden, all my holds came in at once. All six of them. One of them being the nearly 1,000 page tome 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. Another being the roughly 600 page Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano. And of course, receiving all my holds at once meant that I had to read them all within 3 weeks. Which has lit quite a fire under me, and as a result, I have been knocking them back with vigor and enthusiasm for the past couple of weeks. 

As a reminder, in this blog, I will go over my thoughts and impressions from the books I’ve read. There is a high possibility that these posts will contain spoilers, so consider this your alert. 

I’ll start with the most recent book I finished, which was The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow. It was a quick and easy read in terms of the length and language, but it was terribly tragic from the first page onward. The story follows a biracial (born of a Dutch mother and African-American father) young girl growing up with her Grandma and Aunt in Portland, OR, after her mother jumps off the roof of a Chicago housing project with her baby sister and her little brother. The girl in the story also jumps off the roof, on her own accord, after seeing her family take the dive. She is the lone survivor of the “accident,” ending up with a damaged ear. Her father had left the family years before and felt unfit to care for the girl, so she moves to Portland. 

Maybe you already know this about Portland, but it is seriously white. In fact, it is the whitest city in the country. It’s one of the aspects of Portland that bothered me most when I first got here, but I had not really thought about why Portland got this distinction was until a few months ago when I read this article by Portland State University professor Karen Gibson, which tracks the history of the African-American community in Oregon and specifically in Portland from the time the land was settled by Westerners until the present day. (It is a long read, but so very important, especially if you live in Portland. Read more about my thoughts on the article here.) Part of the reason that I feel so strongly connected to this article and what it talks about, as well as The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, is that I live in the exact neighborhood where all these events took place. I currently live in the historically African-American part of town.

Over the past decade, the area has been consistently gentrified. Home prices in my neighborhood more than tripled from 1990, when my neighborhood was considered a ghetto, until 2000, when my neighborhood was considered the hot new place to live. But before that, it was the heart of the African-American community. It was legally the only neighborhood where Blacks were allowed to purchase homes, and the community was squeezed into this tiny area. And for several decades, the neighborhood flourished. A community center emerged, and the area was known for its tight-knit Black community. This is not to say it was all rainbows and kittens. In fact, Portland has historically been one of the most racist cities in the U.S., compared often in the paper as just as bad, if not worse, than places in the deep south. Blacks in the 1940’s who moved here left Portland more often than any other West Coast city because of the deep-seated racism that existed here. 

Anyway, that all changed in the 1980’s, for many reasons including predatory lending, absentee landlords, gang warfare, and crack-cocaine, which ravaged the community, and my neighborhood. The neighborhood comprised 1 percent of the city’s land but contained 26 percent of the city’s abandoned houses, according to Karen GIbson’s article. The neighborhood continued to devolve until the city stepped in to try and clean things up. Artists moved into the surrounding neighborhoods, and suddenly it became a hip area to live. 

I want to say more about the history of Portland and this particular neighborhood, but I fear I am getting way off track. There are plenty more atrocities I feel are relevant to the whole cycle of vibrant Black community to decline of the neighborhood to rock bottom ghetto to gentrification to the present day, but I will spare you. Please read the article. It is really important.

Back to the book. It is set in Portland in 1982 in my exact neighborhood. The places that she talks about are literally blocks from my house, establishments I pass every day. So of course, that piqued my interest and made it easy for me to get into. Also, she lives through the decline of the neighborhood, which parallels the decline of solid, loving figures in her life as they slowly die off or become severe alcoholics (a theme that runs throughout the novel). The entire novel, really, is one of loss and resilience.

One of the main themes, of course, is the girl, Rachel, trying to figure out where she fits in. Whether she is white or black. She often asks others, “What are you?” referring to their race. She does not think about it before she moves to Portland perhaps because she is too young or perhaps because she is often shipped around to military bases where the populations were quite diverse already. But from the first day she starts school in Portland, she realizes that she must categorize herself in order to fit in. She consistently rejects the idea that she is white, hearing in others’ voices that it is an insult when people say this to her. And yet, she does not quite fit in with the black students, either. She speaks differently (like a white girl), and she is more interested in becoming educated and going to college than fitting in with them. 

There is another theme here that emerges, which is the role of education in identity, and the difference between becoming well-educated academically and well-educated in regards to street smarts and common sense. Rachel, who can speak Dutch and was well-educated by her mother before coming to Portland, is much more interested in being successful academically. She receives straight A’s, hoping that her Grandma will be proud of her, but instead, her Grandma seems more concerned about Rachel finding a nice man who will marry her and take care of her. On the other hand, Rachel’s Aunt Loretta encourages Rachel to study hard and pursue her interests. Loretta herself is an artist (a habit that her mother/Rachel’s Grandma discourages because she thinks it will discourage attention from men) and quite progressive. Rachel sometimes looks down on the way her Grandma speaks (“grammatically incorrect”) and what she knows, and she struggles to find peers she feels comfortable with. In the end, she leads a mostly isolated and lonely adolescence. 

What interests me most about this particular theme is the idea that in certain communities, highly-motivated and intellectually curious children are forced to shed these interests if they want to fit in with their peers. It is something that I, as a white middle-class woman, have never experienced, but read about often. It seems a tragic decision to be forced to make.

BUT throughout the novel, and Heidi Durrow is very clear about this, it is obvious that although Rachel struggles, and although her life is fraught with tragedy, she remains capable of loving and being wholeheartedly. She is not irreparably damaged by the events that take place around her. Instead, she pushes through, sometimes more resigned than others, to carve out a path for herself that is not defined by her mother’s suicide/double homicide, nor the neighborhood she grows up in. Rachel is of course deeply connected to these events, but she does not let them tell her who she is. The possibility of having a fulfilling, happy life remains. 

Anyway, the book was a good time capsule of Portland in the 80s and 90s. A bildungsroman that addresses issues of race, sexuality, class, inequality. And a good reminder, for me, of the events and forces that shaped where I live today. 


February 16, 2010

Love, Sex, and Diseases

Lately all I’ve been thinking about is love, sex, and diseases. The sixth issue of the monthly Stumptown Underground zines was about sex, so for the past month I’ve been looking at super sexy art, comics, writing, and illustrations. We had the release party on Saturday, where we watched a couple of sexy animations and raffled off a bunch of sex toys donated to us by some local sex shops. I brought a bowl of green M&Ms. Much innuendo and double entendres ensued. It is one of the biggest issues we’ve ever put out. Like, seriously. It’s just soo big. OK, I’ll stop.

I finished Love in the Time of Cholera on Valentine’s Day. I loved it. It’s great. I highly recommend it to all of you. Not only is Gabriel Garcia Marquez an incredible writer, the story is strong and complex and layered and involves so many different kinds of love it is difficult to sum up. “It’s about this guy who falls in love with this chick who rejects him and marries this other dude, and he waits 50 years to declare his love for her again,” I told my boyfriend, who looked at me sort of funny, at which point I said, “I mean, sort of. There’s a lot of other stuff, too.” Yeah.

OK, so, cholera. Shit sucks. Untreated, it can kill you in as little as 18 hours. You know you have it because you have crazy diarrhea the whole time. The bacteria swims into your intestines and messes with the proteins, turning your intestines into salt water, which pulls up to 6 liters of water into your system through osmosis per day (hence the diarrhea.) Yuck. There are some places in the world that still experience cholera outbreaks, but it can be almost eradicated with proper sewage and water treatment systems. But back in the day (in the 1800s and at the turn of the century), it was taking down some serious numbers of people. It started in Asia—Bengal, India, China—then moved to Russia, Hungary, Germany, and the rest of Europe. Then it went back to Russia and then to Asia again, then finally back through Europe and into Africa. The fifth cholera epidemic affected mainly Europe and the Americas, where Europeans had just started to settle. I’m talking big numbers, too. Like, 100,000 per country per epidemic in some cases. Geeze!

As fascinating as all that is, there’s surprisingly little about cholera in the book. As I said before, it’s mostly about Florentina Ariza biding his time until he can declare his love for Fermina Daza, who he has loved since he was a child. And while that may sound like a really romantic love story, here’s the deal: Florentina Ariza is a fucking pussy. He’s so sensitive when it comes to his lovesick suffering for Fermina Daza, who is obviously out of his league, but at the same time, he’s completely oblivious to the suffering and pain that he causes others because of his preoccupation with his own tragedy. I mean, in the 50 years that he waits to finally win back Fermina Daza, he sleeps with over 600 women (which is sort of neither here nor there EXCEPT for the fact that when he finally does win Fermina Daza over, he tells her that he “remained a virgin” for her, although Thomas Pynchon argues that he is, in a way, telling the truth) AND he is DIRECTLY responsible for the deaths of at least two of those women. What an asshole! That kind of love is my least favorite. It’s obsessive, destructive love that you think is there because it’s all you can think about, but in reality, it’s an illusion. It’s not true love.

Fermina Daza, in the meantime, is probably one of the most morally upstanding characters in the book and definitely one of the most well-balanced. She chooses to marry a man who is smart, practical, loyal, and committed to stopping the cholera plague. They do not love each other when they are married, but they eventually come to love each other, even after she finds out about his affair with another woman, whom he loves very much. Fermina Daza’s husband knows that when he finally decides to stop indulging in the affair that he is walking away from his one chance at love, but he does it because he knows that his role and duty is to be faithful to his wife. Florentina Ariza, on the other hand, engages in ridiculously immoral and abusive behavior in the name of love, while still seeing himself as a morally upstanding individual and preaching his brand of morality in a book that he plans to write. Ack! He makes me so angry!

Anyway, there is other love, too. Love between fathers and daughters, mothers and sons. The love that develops between friends who could’ve been lovers but decided not to and between people who need love so badly that they take it in places they know they shouldn’t. There is unrequited love and safe, secure love and passionate love. Youthful love and love at a very old age. It really is quite amazing. And true.

There are lots of other things to talk about. Like the fact that I can’t read a Garcia Marquez without thinking “magic realism” in my head every time something happens that isn’t quite logical. It’s a tick I wish I knew how to turn off. What I realized at the end of this novel was that unlike One Hundred Years of Solitude, where fantasy and reality are much more intertwined, the only time that he uses magic realism in Love in the Time of Cholera is when Garcia Marquez needs to say something that can only be expressed abstractly. But instead of doing it that way, he brings it into reality by combining it with fantastic elements. It’s hard for me not to try and make sense of them, explain them away, and then I realize that it’s Garcia Marquez, and he’s using “magic realism,” and I don’t think about it anymore. It’s not something I like about myself. I wish no one had labeled that concept and subsequently taught it to me. Perhaps then I could approach what he is saying for what is he saying, rather than trying to fit it into some already-existing paradigm in my head. Do you know what I mean?

I am super full of Ethiopian food, and I have been talking about this too long, so I am going to go. But read Love in the Time of Cholera. I think you’ll like it.

February 4, 2010

January Wrap-Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 10:14 pm

Hello, everyone. I have good news for you! I finished another book—Zeitoun by Dave Eggers—and I am currently halfway through Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, which is stunning. He is an incredible storyteller!

Zeitoun is a nonfiction book about how Hurricane Katrina changed one family’s life. The story focuses mostly on the husband and wife of the family, who split up before the storm, the wife taking the kids and fleeing to Baton Rouge, while the husband stays to keep an eye on their many properties and work sites. I have had pretty intense emotional reactions to all the Eggers’ books I’ve read—A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, You Shall Know Our Velocity, and What is the What—but not so much with this one. Instead of making me feel sort of manic-depressive, this book just made me feel angry. It clearly brings to light the infuriating inefficiency of our government’s response to this natural disaster and highlights the difficulties of struggling against bureaucracy. The injustices suffered by this family, which happen ON TOP OF the loss of their home, their office building, and many of the properties they managed, as well as the emotional strain of the disaster, are mind-blowing. And there are no apologies in this book. You just know that this story is one of thousands out there about how the mistakes that our government made in the wake of Hurricane Katrina severely impacted the lives and well-being of New Orleans residents.

It was a quick read; I finished in a few days, and it goes down easy. Perhaps that is one of Eggers’ greatest strengths—he writes clearly and to the point. It’s easy to be sucked into the story, dragged along for the ride.

I like Love in the Time of Cholera much better. For one thing, he uses words I don’t know, but can often glean from the context, which makes me happy. Sometimes I need to look them up, which is good too because then I know what they mean. But it doesn’t feel clunky or overly academic. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a gifted storyteller whose novels are epic with each paragraph containing a lifetime of events. It moves along quickly, and the story’s focus shifts easily between multiple characters and sometimes there are these great little story/parables that fall in there, and I have to read them a few times just because they are so beautiful. Like this:

He did not live to see his own glory. When he recognized in himself the irreversible symptoms that he had seen and pitied in others, he did not attempt a useless struggle but withdrew from the world so as not to infect anyone else. Locked in a utility room at Misericordia Hospital, deaf to the calls of his colleagues and the pleas of his family, removed from the horror of the plague victims dying on the floor in the packed corridors, he wrote a letter of feverish love to his wife and children, a letter of gratitude for his existence in which he revealed how much and with how much fervor he had loved life. It was a farewell of twenty heartrending pages in which the progress of the disease could be observed in the deteriorating script, and it was not necessary to know the writer to realize that he had signed his name with his last breath. In accordance with his instructions, his ashen body was mingled with others in the communal cemetery and was not seen by anyone who loved him.

Wow. Dude can seriously write.

Anyhow, things are OK, or whatever. Sort of intense and epic, actually, but hopefully everything will calm down soon, and in the meantime I can just finish up Love in the Time of Cholera, which is making me remember why I LOVE TO READ, and then it’s on to Marilynne Robinson’s Home because you can just never have too much Christian fiction floating around in your head, yeah?

January 25, 2010

The World and Its Spinning

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 4:55 pm

OK, so I’ve finished my first book of the new year. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, but I had reserved this book from the library several months ago, it finally came in, and then suddenly I only had five more days until it was due back, so I pushed through and read it. Yay! Whatever works!

Anyway, the book is Colum McCann’s Let The Great World Spin, which won the National Book Award last year for fiction. The reason I picked it up is because an old professor of mine said it was good, and he was right. It is one of the best books I’ve read in awhile.

The novel is composed of multiple vignettes told from the perspective of several different characters. At first I thought the different sections were completely unrelated, but it becomes clear that each character in the story is somehow related to the overall events, which are laid out in the first story and involve an Irish immigrant monk living in the projects in the Bronx, his brother, and the prostitutes he helps. Although the events of that story impact all the other stories told in the book, the one event that provides an axis for the rest of the events to spin around is Philippe Petit’s tightrope walk between the two towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. Not all the characters in the story witness this event, but they are all affected by it somehow, either directly or indirectly.

I guess the most amazing thing about this novel to me is the idea of trying to capture the entire world in one book, which seems to be what McCann aims to do. By centering the book around one specific event and seeing it through the eyes of multiple people, you can’t help but draw comparisons between the worlds that each character lives in. Everyone is caught up in their own life—their past and their current perceptions—and for a brief moment all those lives intersect, before everyone goes hurtling through time and space into their separate futures.

I don’t really feel like I’m doing this book justice at all because I enjoyed reading it, and I was able to sit quietly and read for several hours before realizing that any time had passed at all, which is highly unusual for me, but I think I am a little rusty to this whole blogging thing, so you’ll have to forgive me. I don’t know what else to say about this book. It’s messy and full of love and death and grief and sex and birth and drugs and wonder. It’s heartbreaking without being sentimental, and it reminds me of how many different ways there are to live. Sometimes it feels like there are no rules involved in being human; there are too many possibilities, too many desires, too many situations for it to ever be simple. We all make mistakes and some of us regret them, but there is beauty to be found in every life, despite.

Up next is Dave Egger’s new novel Zeitoun. I will tell you how it goes.

December 11, 2009

New Year’s Resolution

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 8:53 pm

Hey – remember me? I used to write on this blog every time I read a new book or zine or had something to share about reading or writing? Yeah? OK.

See, here’s the thing. I started this blog in part to keep track of everything I was reading and making, and also to motivate me to read more. And here’s the other thing: moving to Portland, while it is a very literary city, has somehow caused my reading to take a nose dive. I’m busy putting together zines and helping plan the zine symposium and reading comics and zines, but there hasn’t been much time for book reading. Of course, I could do way more to set aside the time to do it, but for some reason, in the past few months, my attention span has shrunk to incredible proportions. I decided awhile ago not to beat myself up for it. I am happy. Happier than I’ve been in a very long time. And that’s what matters, right?

I do miss reading, though. I miss being sucked into another world, learning about myself through other people and their experiences. Connecting to other readers through books, and finding authors that tell me things about myself I never knew. So listen, this is what I’m going to do. This blog is on my list of New Year’s Resolutions. I’m going to try. Really. I promise. I’ve never killed a blog unintentionally, and I don’t plan to start now.

And as I get my feet back on the ground and my head back into books—do you have any suggestions? What’s the best thing you’ve read this year?

July 28, 2009

It is hot, and I am busy.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 8:40 pm

Heyo. I’m not dead, I swear. It’s just that things have been eating up all of my time, like the Portland Zine Symposium, which happened last weekend, and it was awesome and exhausting and informative, and now it is over, thank god. My roommate and I stayed up to do a 24-hour zine the weekend before, holed up in a comics store near our house with a dozen or so other zinesters, and the rest of the week I played catch up on my sleep and tried to coordinate all the donations that were coming in for the symposium and get the programs made and help the organizers move things around and drop things off and fold and staple and copy, and yes. 

It is strange to live in a city with other zinesters, where it is a part of the culture and you can go to a place to see lots of people making zines everyday. Weird to meet the people behind the distros and zines that I’ve been reading/ordering from for years. Zine kids aren’t usually that used to talking with people in social settings. We are much better at writing down our words and then editing them and sharing them, and so zine symposiums/fairs/conventions are normally fairly awkward events, but I find it sort of endearing and awesome.

And so zines have taken over my life, although I haven’t written a new one in awhile, and I am sort of ready to do that maybe, once things calm down and this heat wave passes, and all the things that are new in my life have sort of lost a little bit of their sheen and I can turn my attention elsewhere.

And if you’re wondering how I’m doing with Infinite Jest, let’s just say that I have a long ways to go to catch up. Aie.

June 23, 2009

Nothing new

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Katie @ 9:14 pm

I was just sitting here when it all of a sudden occurred to me that I have a blog I’ve been neglecting for awhile. And then I looked back at my last entry, which was a full twenty days ago. That has to be a record.

In my defense, I’ve been traveling quite a bit, and I haven’t been at home in about 2.5 weeks now, so things have been a little hectic. I haven’t really been reading, either, although I’ve been trying to get a head start on Infinite Jest so that I can keep up with the infinite summer people as they read the book. I’m on page 105 now, which is sad, sad, sad, considering how long ago I started.

Alas. It is what it is. And I have nothing more to say. I will update later, perhaps when I do have something more substantial to report. In the meantime, it’s summer. Drink a beer or a ginger ale, and go sit out on the porch for a bit.

June 3, 2009

I knew true love and I knew passion

OK, so reading isn’t really priority #1 around here anymore, and neither is writing, come to think of it, but I did manage to finish a book today, which was a light read, if not depressing. It’s the autobiography of The Eel’s lead singer/songwriter Mark Oliver Everett, known as E. 

It’s called Things the Grandchildren Should Know, and it’s not particularly well-written. It sort of reminded me of a zine, in a way, and I doubt the thing would have ever been published if he weren’t so famous. But nonetheless, it’s sort of inspiring to hear him talk about the way that music helped him survive a pretty turbulent life. 

E has a rough childhood, a practically nonexistent relationship with his father who he eventually comes home to find dead, a sister who eventually commits suicide, and a mother who gets cancer. By the end of the book, he is the only member left of his immediate family, and he claims that his drive to produce music was the one passion he had that kept him alive and going. Listening to his songs through this lens makes them a little more amazing to me, and it is certainly humbling to think of how lonely it must be to have the people who were there to witness your childhood, raise you, take care of you, and help you develop into an adult all die before you are middle-aged. I can’t really imagine.

One thing I will say about E is that his intentions, at least portrayed in his book, certainly seem pure. Although he does bask somewhat in “fame” for awhile, he eventually realizes that’s not what he wants, and for many of his albums, he fights to maintain creative control over what he puts out. In fact, he ends up getting ditched over and over by managers and record labels because of his desired autonomy over his music. 

Anyhow, I’m heading back to the east coast for about in month in TWO DAYS, and I have about five thousand things to do before I leave, which is sort of stressing me out. I think I’m going to only take one  book back with me: David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. It’s a hefty book to haul a grand total of 6,000 miles, but I’m pretty sure it’s time.

May 27, 2009

For the foreseeable future anyway

I’m not really sure what phase I’ve entered here with my reading, but I’ve wandered off the literature path lately, and that’s OK with me. I just finished reading There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz. It’s a nonfiction book about two children growing up in one of the Chicago housing projects in the 80s. And as you might expect, it’s terribly heartbreaking and sad. It was also engaging and super easy to read. The subject matter was dark and gave me nightmares a few times, but it was told clearly and succinctly. I really admire Alex Kotlowitz and his style of journalism. I’d like to read a few more of his books. And as a sidenote, I do feel that watching The Wire made it easier to understand what was going on in this book. 

It’s incredible to me how dangerous poverty can be, how dangerous it can be to live in these United States. We are supposedly a first-world country, and yet some of our citizens, our youngest citizens, live in conditions that are both traumatic and horrifying. There are places in this country where children witness murder on a regular basis. Where death and oppression are rampant from a young age. And there are very few resources out there to help do anything to make the situation better. It blows my mind the amount of courage, stamina, and resolve it takes just to grow up in a situation like the one described in this book.

Anyhow, I’m onto another easy-to-read book now called Things the Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett, the lead singer/songwriter for The Eels. I just read the first chapter, and it’s fast and reads like a zine. It’s a light read, something to kill the time before I get to what I’d really like to do this summer…. which is this. It’s an online book club that is hoping to get through David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest this summer. We will see. 

Also on my reading list: a re-read of Mrs. Dalloway. C’est tout.

May 13, 2009

On beauty and growing up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Katie @ 9:35 pm

I’ve been reading Zadie Smith’s On Beauty for the past few days, and I finished it last night, and I loved it. And I’ve been dreading writing this post because I don’t really know why I loved it so much. It was just one of those books that pulls you into the story so fast and makes you feel like you’re hovering over the lives of the people involved for the length of time that the book goes on, and it’s engaging and funny and sad, and then it’s over. 

The book is basically a novel about a family whose father is a professor at a prestigious university. His wife isn’t so much an intellectual, but a strong, confident woman who is admired and embraced by the academic community. They have three kids—the oldest is a born-again Christian son, the middle child is an ambitious, intellectual perfectionist daughter, and the youngest is a charismatic teenager who denies his upper middle class upbringing, claiming instead to have grown up in the rougher parts of Boston to fit in with a group of Haitian protestors he befriends.

There are love affairs and academic squabbles and struggles to find racial and cultural identities. There are arguments between liberals and conservatives, artists and intellectuals, cynics and idealists. There are multiple ruminations on beauty and all its various forms, limitations, expectations. It’s the story of people, with problems, who see them but can’t really do anything about it. And the people who love them anyway. It’s about family dynamics and what it means to be a brother, sister, mother, father. It is an exploration of life through the microcosm of one family, and for awhile you, the reader, feel that you are one of them, the Belseys, navigating your way through a not-so-clear future in various stages of development. There are bits and pieces that are subtle and brief, but ring true to my experience, and so it goes. I’m still not sure I completely understand the ending, and there’s a lot here to unpack and break down, but I’m not sure I’m ready to do that yet. 

I do know, though, that there are scenes depicted in this novel, reactions to situations, quotations, that will stick with me as I grow up, trying to figure it out.

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