this book last night. (Okay, actually it was at like 2:00 this morning.)
I highly recommend it. I read This Lullaby down in Destin during Spring break of my senior year of high school (Most fun week of my life? Probably) and loved it, so I decided to reread it over this Christmas break. Turns out, two and a half years proved to be the perfect amount of time in between reads. I remembered how the book ended–sort of–but I didn't remember any of the major plot points at all or even why I really liked it that much. But I liked it again!
I'm worried, however, that the fiction class I took last semester will forever put a slight damper on any and all fiction that I read from now on. Studying fiction took a little of the magic out of books and movies for me. I find myself reading books and watching movies now and having to shove aside thoughts like "That character could be developed a little more" and "Oh, the author is setting up the conflict." URGH. I just want to enjoy it.
And that's another thing. At the beginning of the semester, our professor asked us who our favorite fiction authors were. But she deemed about half of the class's choices to be "genre fiction" and "not real literature."
I'm sorry; is there a literature checklist somewhere that I don't have a copy of? I would like to get my hands on that checklist. Does it say things like:
- Somebody must die (for example, by having his head chopped off by a guillotine or by being hit with a blunt ax)
- Extra points if the main character tries to kill himself (for example, by sledding down a hill) and actually just succeeds in paralyzing himself and making his life even more miserable
- The protagonist should never actually end up with the person he/she is pining for throughout the whole book (for example, because one of the characters is already betrothed or his/her beloved has commited suicide)
- Extra points if the protagonist ends up realizing that he, himself, is corrupt (for example, because he has mercilessly killed lots of people or because he married his own mom)
- Basically, the more death and heartbreak and human corruption, the more literary it is
Throughout my schooling, these seemed to be the criteria that my teachers would use in choosing the books they inflicted on us in any given semester. And if it weren't for Harry Potter and Meg Cabot and two good English teachers during my senior year of high school, I may have given up on reading altogether.
Perhaps the subject matter of This Lullaby was not as heavy as that of great literary classics, but the wording was much clearer in my opinion. The author also gave telling descriptions and revealed that she has a lot of insight into what motivates people. I don't really know where I'm going with this. I'm just tired of people deeming the books that I like to be of little worth or significance because they aren't "real literature." I feel like the undertone in their words is: you are unintelligent for liking what you do. Tell me, please, how would liking The Good Earth (or whatever) show that I was more intelligent? It would probably only show that I liked super depressing and boring things.
In other news, timing in my life is a funny thing. The first day back to school sophomore year, I went to go see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and basically bawled my eyes out during it because I was so sad that summer (both for me and for them) was over.
The same thing happened towards the end of Christmas break last year. The whole break was like Gilmore Girls-fest for me because I had borrowed the first few seasons on DVD from friends. Right before I had to return to school, I watched as Rory and Lorelai had to separate so Rory could go to Yale. Commence tears again.
One thing I forgot about This Lullaby was that the main character, Remy, is also about to head off to college, and–surprise of surprises–as I lay in bed reading about her packing up last night, I began to tear up again, knowing that I, myself, was just a day away from returning to school.
I'm just not good with endings and goodbyes.
"Some things don't last forever, but some things do. Like a good song, or a good book, or a good memory you can take out and unfold in your darkest times, pressing down on the corners and peering in close, hoping you still recognize the person you see there." –Sarah Dessen, This Lullaby