Monday, January 02, 2006

How I Spent New Year's Day

We did another Christmas yesterday. This involved driving to a relative's home in another state. I was able to hole up in the back seat and read a big chunk of Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers by Louise Rennison. Marvie, fab, fab!

As I started reading this book, I felt the same way I felt as I started reading the last Georgia Nicholson book. I thought that maybe Georgia's confessions and adventures had gone on a little too long and ol' Louise was going a little over the toposity in the weirdie vocabulariosity. But, after a while, I was sucked right into Georgia's world again.

I was reminded of reading Billy Shakespeare when I was in high school. I'd start reading a new play and think "Now, is this written in French or Russian?" and "What the heck is this about?" Then after a few pages, I'd get the hang of the language and could follow it just fine--so long as the info in the first few pages wasn't necessary to the play because it was pretty much lost to me.

That's how I've felt reading the last couple of Georgia Nicholson books. It takes a while to get into Georgia's mindset, but once I do, I enjoy being there very much. (Much more than I ever enjoyed a Shakespearean play, to be honest.)

I don't know if I could stand Georgia in the flesh, though. She makes me most grateful I didn't have daughters.

More Thoughts on How I Live Now

Chris Barton got in touch with me after my last posting on how i live now. To refresh everyone's memory, I liked the book very much, but felt that a relationship that young readers are said to find objectionable was unnecessary. Chris said that he was aware of the relationship before reading the book (same here) and found it a reason to dislike the main character, Daisy, who he loathed in the early chapters, anyway.

"But," Chris said, "I came around to liking her quite a bit, and I don't know that her transformation would have happened without the relationship... Entering that
relationship was the selfish, unconscionable act of a highly messed-up person...However, I bought the notion that during a war, in a war zone, the usual rules of civilization don't apply, and that the relationship was no less appropriate
than war itself."

Chris also thinks that Daisy's finding the resources to save herself and a young cousin came about because Daisy had already had this intense relationship with someone else. The deadened Daisy of the opening pages of the novel couldn't have done it.

I can't remember whether the relationship occurs before or after the war started so I can't fully buy into the "rules of civilization don't apply" argument. Certainly I agree that what was going on during the war chapters was far worse than what went on between Daisy and...well, I don't want to ruin the story for anyone.

In fact, as I'm writing this I'm wondering if that's the point. The "shocking" relationship occurs in the early part of the book and then is pretty much over. What shocked us is pretty much blown away by unrelated shocking things that happen later.

On the other hand, I'm told that people outside the U.S. don't finding the "shocking" relationship all that shocking. For them I guess it's just a romantic interlude that's sadly broken off by war.

Which leaves me wondering now, which is better? To be shocked or not to be shocked? Right now I'm thinking I might prefer the shock to just another little war romance.

No comments: