Thursday, April 3, 2014

April 3: Tell Me a Story, In my Book Bag, David Rakoff

"Tell me a story, Charlotte!" said Wilbur as he lay waiting for sleep to come.  "Tell me a story!"

Like Wilbur, I'm a sucker for a good story.  I love books where the characters sort of haunt me for days after I'm done reading them.  Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch was like that for me.  I literally didn't want that novel to end.

In my book bag this evening is David Rakoff's novel in verse Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish.  It's, aesthetically, a beautiful book to look at.  The cover art resembles a Roy Lichtenstein silk print, and the book (113 pages long) has the heft and feel of a volume of poetry.

Rakoff's verse can, at times, feel a little forced, rhyming "seance" with "crayons."  Yet, his characters do stick with the reader.  The opening lines of the book are surprisingly moving to me for some reason I have yet to identify:

The infant, named Margaret, had hair on her head
Thick and wild as a fire, and three times as red.
The midwife, a brawny and capable whelper,
Gave one look and crossed herself.  "God above help her,"
She whispered, but gave the new mother a smile,
"A big, healthy girl.  Now you rest for a while . . . "

As these omen-laden couplets indicate, Margaret's life is not an easy one.  She leaves school as a young girl, starts working at the factory with her mother.

I like Rakoff's book if only for the fact that it's so different in style and look.  I'm not that far into my reading of it, but I can tell that it's not going to disappoint me.  I'm going to savor it this weekend, like a cake from which I keep cutting small slices.

Saint Marty is going to enjoy every bite.

A tasty morsel

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