Sunday, August 12, 2007

Deeper

Picked up a novel off my dad's bookshelf yesterday--Wild Orchids by Jude Deveraux. Reading this book may prove, once and for all, that I truly will read anything with words on it. Started late last night and finished this morning. It was the polar opposite of the writing I encountered in Taos. No music weaves between the lines, no "stab of actuality" in the descriptions, and the rhythm of the language is clunky at best. There are at least three plots roiling around between the covers and one of them is pretty ridiculous.

Still, I couldn't put it down. Learned something, maybe even several things by reading it.

One of the plot lines brings us to an about face by one of the protagonists, a writer, about his childhood and the people in it. He had a tough time growing up and used it as fodder for his books. He wrote about people who were ignorant, unkind, and hurtful to him. Decades later, he gets to know one of these people as an adult, and learns how life looked from the other side of the page. He then plots out a book retelling many of the same stories from that point of view. Wouldn't that be an interesting exercise?

Everyone is the hero of his/her own story, and so it should be. But other points of view deserve to be explored, too. This character never met his father, who had been in jail since before the character was born. When he learns some of his father's story, it turns out not to be as cut and dried as that sounds. This character left home, got rich writing books (!!) and used some of his money to help younger generations of his family go to college. For family members who stayed in the community, it's a mixed blessing. Turns there's more to the situation than he imagined.

Isn't that always the way? Just when we think we can safely write someone off as all wrong or all bad, they turn out to be as multi-faceted and complex as we ourselves are. Damn. I hate it when that happens.

Can't say I recommend this book, but sure can say I recommend reading a book you wouldn't ordinarily pick up. Once in awhile, anyway.

6 comments:

Suzy said...

Really interesting summary of the book Jerri. I like the idea of you reading the book and telling us about it....
Interesting story-walk a mile in someone else's shoes huh?
Fairness is tough to come by when the only side of the story is your own and the other characters can't/won't share theirs.
Calls for a lot of compassion for all the characters.
Thank you for the reminder.
Love.
Suzy

kario said...

Yet another reminder that we all ought to step out of our comfort zones from time to time. At least until I catch sight of my own shadow and scamper back...

Carrie Wilson Link said...

HATE it when that happens!

Amber said...

This is a deep idea. Actually, the book I have had tumbling around my head is sort of a story that looks at sides. I think every person has a truth, and it it never just good or bad...

:)

Deb said...

I think it's amazing how much you got out of that clunker of a novel. Goes to show what an open mind and open heart can do with the tiniest bit of light.

My counselor often jokes about painting her office gray - as in there is no black and white. This was a lovely illustration of that.

grammer said...

Great reminder, Jerri, written with your usual clarity and humor. Thank you! t