Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Not so Imperfect

When I first opened this picture of Longwood Gardens (from my sister), inwardly I gasped. Greens so luscious. I appreciated the intensity of spring and how sometimes we look but don't see. That's true of reading. I read a lot and enjoy a variety of styles and authors. However, sometimes you read a book and gasp. The words on the page, the imagery, the sheer "Wow, I wish I'd written this" factor is all imbued in Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott.
The novel is a story of a family that's not so perfect. Rosie seems like a great teenage. She makes good grades, has friends, is super with little kids, and she's a total stoner alcoholic. Her life is a facade of cheating time to get high. Her mother, Elizabeth, and stepfather, James, are parents who try, but are frustrated, at times clueless, and must confront the lies and deceptions. It's an enthralling read.
Here are some writing samples that captured me:
p. 7 "You are the sun," he told Elizabeth over the phone. "The child is merely a moon. She has no light of her own, no income, no car. She is a satellite. Her judgement is frequently poor, and she is mean. She is South Africa before the revolution, cruel and crazy. Divest!"
p.96 In regards to the devil inside and whether we're wired for it: "I think it's tiny and insidious. Like hairline cracks that let in the water that shatters rocks."
p.144 In regards to writing: "It's like Gertrude Stein said, that she could always write good sentences, but she never quite understood paragraphs."
p.157 Rosie's vowing to change: "She got to the scrap of paper ... Thelonious Monk ...'Make the drummer sound good'. She was going to do just that, make both her parents sound good by doing well."
Teensy gems build and build into a wonderful book. I'm going to return it to the library. Go check it out now.

1 comment:

  1. Gasp is right!!! Wow -- one of these days I'm going to write with such finesse.