I’d seen this title around, but never really had the desire to read it. The summary told me it wasn’t my typical type of book. Then I read Tahere Mafi’s review, and changed my mind. I consumed this book in 24 very short hours. It’s hard to describe the feeling this kind of book gives you. How it changes you as a person. It sounds so cheesy, but it’s true. This is a book about life. About people, and sadness and how loss can kill a person inside, how it effects everyone and the importance of family and loved ones. This isn’t just a story, it’s a life and that life’s pain unfolding on each page.
Her words are so poetic and simple and real and oh, so powerful. The way she expresses the profound sadness and emptiness that comes with losing someone you love with all your heart was overwhelming. I felt everything Lennie did, I was riding this rollercoaster with her. I was crying with her, in the darkness of the closet amongst Bails’ clothes. I understand why she did the things she did, because while reading this story, I lost Bails too, and felt the need to do those same things. Make those same decisions and say those same words.
The poems in the books, the snippets of Lennie and Bails lives together was perfect and heart-wrenching and beautiful all at the same time. Jandy has a way with words that I have never seen before and I doubt I’ll see them again. There were so many times where she expressed something so complex in such a rudimentary, brilliant way. There’s a poetic element to her prose and narrative that is so fluid.
Every character, and I mean every character is real enough to touch. I wait for them to come walking down the street. I want a grandma like Grams, I want to live in their town, I want a crazy uncle who’s been married a bazillion times, I want to be able to play an instrument like Lennie or Joe can. I want to know them all. It’s just a great story and experience that you’ll have to have for yourself. Loved this book and will read it again. It definitely made it onto The List.
The toes knows.
Here are a few of my favorite lines from Jandy’s book:
“It’s as if someone vacuumed up the horizon while we were looking the other way.” Pg 3
“My sister dies over and over again, all day long.” Pg 9
“I wish my shadow would get up and walk beside me.” Pg 37
“But what if music is what escapes when a heart breaks?” pg 86
“Our tongues have fallen madly in love and gotten married and moved to Paris.” Pg 125
“My sister will die over and over again for the rest of my life. Grief is forever. It doesn’t go away; it becomes part of you,m step for step, breath for breath. I will never stop grieving Bailey because I will never stop loving her. That’s just how it is. Grief and love are conjoined, you don’t get one without the other. All I can do is love her, and love the world, emulate her by living with daring and spirit and joy.” Pg 257
This is what we're reading for the Read Along this next weekend. If it sounds like something you'd enjoy, pick it up and read it. I can promise you that once you start it, it will go by incredibly fast. Here's one of my favorite bloggers take on the book.