I have a confession to make. I read. A lot. There are few activities in this life that provide an all-encompassing, completely indulgent escape like reading a good book. It can sometimes put me in the best of moods (and sometimes a kinda crabby one…) I don’t read as quickly and as much as some people I know (my college roommate is a superhuman reader, it’s bananas). But I hold on my own. Although I still love going into a Barnes & Noble or especially a Half Price Books and/or an actual library (the smell, so fun!), I am on my Kindle 99.9% of the time. It did for my reading life what iTunes did to everyone’s music life. The next book is always RIGHT THERE. I’ve participated in the personal reading challenge on Goodreads for the past few years. 2012 I read 45 of 35 and 2012 45 of 45. I was really hoping for more, but I got stuck on this Ava Gardner bio that was snoresville so I lost some ground. This year I thought I would go out on a ledge and read TWO WHOLE MORE BOOKS.
A few weeks ago, I anxiously watched the Salinger documentary on Netlfix. Catcher in the Rye, albeit cliché, is one of my favorite books and we all know Salinger basically fell off the face, so I was intrigued when I saw the trailer. Should you be a fan of his writing, just Catcher or even a book nerd in general, take the time to watch the documentary. It’s every bit as interesting as I expected.
One of the most scandalous portions of the documentary was dedicated to interviews with Joyce Maynard, an author with whom Salinger had a tryst with when he was 53 and she in her late teens. He ended up treating her terribly in the end, but hey, she’s become a pretty successful writer herself. Some of the best parts of our lives come from some of the worst, right? One of her novels, Labor Day, caught my eye when I checked out her works on Amazon, as I’d already seen the movie trailer. Let’s be honest, those of us who were teens when Titanic opened will forever be in love with Kate Winslet, so of course I’d planned on seeing it. And when the documentary, the book and the upcoming movie all came together in my brain AND it appeared on BuzzFeed’s 16 Books to Read Before They Hit Theaters This Year, I chose it as my first book for 2014.
I am so glad I did. It’s super easy and quick to get through, very bittersweet and quite haunting. I won’t go into a detailed description because you are all smart ladies and know how to use the internet. It’s basically the story of a reclusive and broken single mother who, along with her son (from whose point of the view the story is told) are kinda sorta but not really taken hostage by an escaped convict. Adele (Winslet, the mom) and Frank (Josh Brolin, the convict) fall deeply in love. The kind of deep and passionate love you root and long for, despite the fact in this specific situation you know the inevitable outcome. Oh but you just don’t want it to end for them, especially poor Adele. After learning her whole story, you want her to have love again so very much.
The biggest thought I took away from this book is how one event, be it big (getting sorta kinda but not really held hostage by an escaped convict) or small (learning to make a pie, saying no to a person who’s throwing his/herself at you) can make a ginormous, lasting impact on your life. I’ve thought about this many times in my own personal journey. My greatest and most cherished example is going to work at the movie theater when I was 16. I just needed a job so I could make car payments. My then stepmom dropped me off at the mall one day so I could fill out some applications. The very first place I walked up to was the box office at the UA Golden Triangle 5. Upon completing the app, the assistant manager told me they were shorthanded that day and asked if I was willing to start. I called my stepmom and told her to pick me up at 6! That will be 18 years ago this July and just about every single thing that has happened to me since can be tied to that moment. It seemed so insignificant at the time, it was just a job. And I had such terrible hair! Who knew?!
Do you have one moment you look back on and think, well I’ll be…if that hadn’t happened… ?