However, I recently found myself in a reading slump—in great part because I’ve been in a reviewing slump, and the more I read, the more behind I get on reviews. I had pretty much stopped reading altogether to avoid adding to my to-be-reviewed pile, but not reading feels a bit like an amputation (a case of the cure being worse than the disease). I had picked up Good to a Fault by Marina Endicott (read my review) and was rifling through it to find words for the Wondrous Words Wednesday meme, when I decided to start it over from the beginning and got caught up in the story again. And this time, the familiarity was reassuring: I was feeling out of sorts, unsettled, scattered, and re-entering a known story was a bit like eating comfort food—a return to the known. The place was familiar, I knew the characters and what they were going to do, how the story was going to end. I could relax and enjoy the journey, noticing things I hadn’t noticed before, deepening my attachment to my favourite characters.
Endicott’s writing style reminded me again of those long takes you sometimes see in movies where the camera follows one character and then another in one long uninterrupted shot. Similarly, Endicott often shifts from the point of view of one character to another without any cuts other than paragraph breaks. Since there are no visual cues to guide you, this can be a bit confusing at first, but once I got used to her style, I enjoyed sliding from one character’s viewpoint to that of another, experiencing the same scene from different perspectives. Here, for example, is Clary’s impression of Fern, followed by Dolly’s (I’ve cut out some dialogue to make the excerpt shorter):
“To Clary it seemed that Fern was still in pretty rough shape. Her thin skin looked raw, and she wouldn’t make eye contact. Shame destroys us, Clary thought, and led her to the bathroom. . . .Marina Endicott recently won the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book Award for Canada and the Caribbean region for Good to a Fault.
Dolly took one look at Fern and loved her. Her hair was the palest apricot colour. It glowed. And she looked so sad. Fern’s back slanted in a long S, her pelvis titled and swung, her legs were long and thin in her tight jeans, and she had a closed, secret shell all around her. Her face looked as if she washed it all the time” (pp. 125-126).
Read Alexis’s thoughts on re-reading this book at Roughing It in the Books.
Do you reread books? When? Why?