Want to hear something that perpetually amazes me? That I have these incredibly intelligent, articulate friends...and they actually want to talk to me. Yeah me. Me, who struggles just to put sentences together. Forget eloquent and insightful. It's a party around here when I can manage coherent.
Case in point, dear blog, this comment from Jason after my last little chat with you:
I've done that with books before - sometimes you reach the end, and it all makes you glad you've read it - like you're a sadder, but wiser person, you know? Other times you get to the end and just feel like you ate too many cookies - like you're sick to your stomach and in retrospect really didn't even enjoy yourself. :/
Seriously, could he have said that any more perfectly?!! No, I think not. (And yes, I do admit to being envious of my wonderful, well-spoken friends like Jason and Ana for their ability to just grab ahold of these ideas and lay them out there in beautiful fashion. For me these ideas dance around the edges of my mind, seldom coming together with such clarity no matter how hard I struggle to synthesize them. And then I'll read what they have to say, and will be left simply thinking, "Exactly. Yes, that's it exactly.") Anyway, at the time I wrote that last entry, the one that elicited his comment, I was still clueless as to which way it was going to end with Shadow Man. But now having finished the book, I'm happy to say the experience falls in the sadder, wiser category. I won't claim that it's in any deeply profound way. But this book gave me an excruciatingly painful look at some very real human emotions. It's not that I haven't thought about how difficult it must be to live when you spend your time hunting down evil, because I have. But I don't know, this powerful work of fiction somehow made it all so real.
I still don't know if this happened because this book is so very different from other thrillers I've read or if it's because I'm a different reader. I'm guessing it's both. Because I really have changed as a reader. And it's been such a change for the good. And it's thanks to my wonderful book blogging friends. It's not that my nature has changed, or my beliefs have changed...it's just that I've grown. In so many ways. I love the way that reading other people's thoughts about books expands my world. Seriously, my universe seems infinitely larger than it was just a few years ago.
So, ridiculous-sounding or not, I think that I just may have the book blogging world to thank for the intensity of my experience with this book. In the end, I loved it. It was disturbing. It was heartbreaking. It was horrifying. And yet, as Jason put it, it left me "a sadder, but wiser person"...and I can live with that.
And along with the compelling story, and characters that I grew to love, and that unique look at human experience, there were also just these little tidbits that somehow spoke to me. Little tidbits like these:
Jenny is quiet for a few moments after this. When she speaks, it's a single word, but it's filled with everything she wants me to know. "Fuck."
Fuck that, and fuck the world, and injustice, and what happened to you, and your daughter dying, and kids getting killed in general, and fuck it all till it's dead and buried and turned to dust and the dust is gone forever. That's what she's saying.
A large part of being a parent is a constant near certainty that you are screwing it up...
(This was not said as a joke, but in complete seriousness...and with complete seriousness, I tend to agree.)
-----So bottom line, dear blog, I'm going to put this one in the win column.
And, surprise--tears. I thought I was done with them. Maybe it's a good thing. I don't ever want to be unaffected by kindness, whether from strangers or from friends.