why i read it: because my senior english teacher wrote it.
what i liked: sometimes i think people do things only because they’re afraid of not doing them (p. 32).
my sister is not in le reception. she is not in front of le central lobby bar. she is not at le theater or les toilettes she is not lined up on the fake french cobblestones under the fake french streetlamp waiting to beat the breakfast rush at le buffet, observing the fake night sky that’s painted on the fake french ceiling.
“where the fuck are you?” i mean to keep this in my head, not shout it out, but that’s exactly what i do.
one of the guys at le reception leans over the counter and asks if we need something.
“looking for my sister,” i say trying to keep my voice even while my pulse zips race-car fast. i describe her to him.
“what’s her name?” he asks. actually what he says is, “what eez her name, mademoiselle?” which i think eez taking zee whole thing too far (p. 69).
we used to live in l.a. everything was near the water, more or less.
were we happy there?
like the day paris and i wandered this flea market in venice and i found tiny tim on a table next to a pile of coach knockoffs and she found this red leather wallet with a plastic strip of pictures of people we didn’t know. at home later, she cut their faces out with a small, pointy silver scissors so she could use them in her art: a middle-aged man in a suit and tie; an old lady wearing a white wool hat with a pom-pom on top; two kids–a boy and a girl–standing on the edge of the ocean. which i thought looked weird.
but we were laughing, and she pasted the lady with the pom-pom onto the upper branches of this tree she’d drawn with charcoal pencils and i dusted off tiny tim’s bony clavicle, and it was one of the moments you have with the people you love where you don’t need to explain how you are. they just know.
if that was happy, then we were.
but so what? (pp. 99-100).
what sucked: nothing, really. i marked some pages that had struck a chord or whatever at the time of reading that didn’t strike it so well upon review. that’s really all i’ve got.
having said all that: it’s the first of her novels i’ve finished. well-developed characters; well-developed plot. a quick read. i’ve picked up a number of books since the start of the year; this is the only one so far that has inspired me to read it cover to cover. i liked it, and i’m not just saying that because she was my teacher.