Sunday, November 30, 2008

What I Saw and My Inner Bookworm

Lately, I've been feeling the acquired NY survival-abilities of multitasking, noticing the 25+ things my students are doing, and looking in 5 directions while walking down a busy street,  have taken over my brain, resulting in a near inability to complete, finish, focus.  (look, I hardly stopped to punctuate or finish that sentence!)  For example, I've taken to dip-reading into 5 books at once, and barely finishing one, all excitement, little follow-through, as the leaning tower of paperbacks on my bedside table attests.

Enough!  In an attempt to prove to myself I can still be Focused and Smart, my before-New-Year's resolution is to return to reading one book at a time.  Thoroughly, completely digesting it.  Underlining even.  Like I used to in college, or at the dinner table when I was eight.

Luckily, I started my mission with this book.

I picked Judy Blundell's What I Saw and How I Lied because of a friend's recommendation and the fact that it just won the National Book Award.  And its YA, and I'm writing YA, and needed to do some applicable Research.

The experience of tearing through a novel, being annoyed at interruptions like Real People and Holidays, et al, and slightly mourning when it was over was resurrected for me.  Yay!  I reconnected with my inner bookworm.  I was immersed in Blundell's world, and am kinda sad to be back in this one.  I miss the finger waves, red lipstick, espionage, spooky hotel, and cute boy with the sexy forearms!

The book was mostly a swampy run through post-WWII Florida, when Palm Beach was off-limits for Jews (wha?!) and people pocketed their war-secrets like cigarettes for after-dinner.  It was fabulous to try to piece together what the adults were up to through the eyes of a swoony yet earnest 15 year old.  And to watch her grow.

The book leaves us on 48th street in Manhattan, just as I was gratefully rolling in to 42nd after a Weekend Away.  

"Dusk had fallen, and lights were coming on in all the apartments around me.  Little squares of gold. ... Behind every square of gold was a person.  Maybe a family.  How nice it must be to wake up and know so many busy lives were around you, in the humming hive of the city.

I felt something clear and straight inside me, and I knew I'd found home.  I'd live here one day.  I'd be in one of those golden squares of light.  Around me would be a bunch of lives, some better, some worse.  I'd be smack in the middle of all that living."

Swoon!  Thanks, Blundell.  I guess I don't have ADD after all.