Sunday, November 14, 2010
Life as mess.
The idea of "who am I becoming?" and which layers of experience stay with a person and which ones fall away is fascinating, especially the older that one gets. My favorite parts of the book that spoke to this idea were actually the literary quotations that began each part and cut to the essence of Emma and Dexter's friendship, and in turn the concept of the book. They are too long to quote each one, but "Late Twenties" is: "We spent as much money as we could and got as little for it as people could make up their mind to give us. We were always more or less miserable, and most of our acquaintance were in the same condition. There was a gay fiction among us that we were constantly enjoying ourselves, and a skeleton truth that we never did. To the best of my belief, our case was in the last aspect a rather common one," (from Great Expectations, Dickens).
I just had a hard time with the characters' major flaws: Dexter seeking the next good time and landing in a the bottom of a glass in between, Emma as judgmental and flirting by joking about Dexter's character flaws. I could not figure out why they even liked one another, and I couldn't find that moment where they actually saw one another. Perhaps it happened in between July Fifteenths? Their messiness should have resonated with me on a human level--but all I could think about was that this reminded me of Mad Men, in that I was watching something a tad too depressing that could go on forever in that state (which I think is the fear that both plagues and paralyzes people). The scariest part is that the state humanity is often best portrayed in those scenes of bleakness.
What was heartbreaking, though, and what might have assuaged the bleakness of certain parts, is if Emma and Dexter were able to actually say what they meant when they meant it. Things went unsaid, a great tragedy always--and because it was an omnicient third person narrator, the reader is left knowing what each of them feel, while the person that really needs to know is in the dark. The book is filled with missed chances, and I suppose, such is life.
Wow. One Day was entertaining. I don't mean to sound like such a cynic on a Sunday morning.
Posted by Kristen Robbins Warren at 10:45 AM