Thursday, May 3, 2007

Being flawed.

I finished Jesus' Son just now. Tried to lose myself in his stories to distract myself from the heartache of disappointment and self-doubt I was feeling inside. So this little bit of review will come streaming without too much thought. I want to re-read the other stories later before presenting a final review of the collection. But for now, I just want to record my reactions.

His last two stories spoke to me beautifully, especially "Beverly Home". I love how flawed he is, and how, in turn, he is drawn to women flawed like him - short women, crippled women. And conversely his obsession for the religious women in the apartment. In a way the opposite from him and all these women. Virginal. Good. Clean. I love the little religious allusion when her husband washes her feet. Love how he is in the window, watching this. How in the end, he doesn't really catch them making love, even though he is obsessed with it. Almost as if he wants to see that evidence that she, too, is not perfect.

And I love this:

How could I do it, how could a person go that low? And I understand your question, to which I reply, Are you kidding? That's nothing. I'd been much lower than that. And I expected to see myself do worse.
--[pg. 147, Jesus' Son]

I really like this because it just shows you so much about the guy. How far he's come. How much further he's got to go. It's a little winning battle for him that he's just a voyeur for now, harmless compared to the shit we've seen him involved with in the past. Oh, he's nowhere near cleansed of his flaws, but he's made inroads. And he's aware of that. I don't know. Something about that touched me, him and his little flaws, and he's making his way. Got a job and everything. Trying to be part of normalcy. Irony is - he finds normalcy among freaks. Suddenly, he's not so bad, not compared to these guys. And the beautiful thing I find is how he's entreated with the job of "touching" them. Holding their hands, playing with their hair, squeezing their shoulders. These crazies he identifies himself with more readily at the end than with the "normal" people in the world. He's helping them get better. Or at least bringing something to them. And conversely, he's getting better by being with them:

All these weirdos, and me getting a little better every day right in the midst of them. I had never known, never even imagined for a heartbeat, that there might be a place for people like us.
--[pg. 160, Jesus' Son]

I love the ending. Love him finding his place like that, not just to wrap up the story, but the whole collection too. A little cycle it seems. Symbiosis or something or other.

The story was beautiful. Really touched me. Maybe because it drives it home to me - people are so flawed. We are all just people struggling to be touched by someone who will understand us and let us be the flawed people we are.

I also really liked "Steady Hands at Seattle General" - because it was just simple dialogue while he's shaving the guy. He's so probing. So interested in this guy. He wants to be a writer he says. Is going to put it all down verbatim (and he does!). It's so simple. Him just asking questions. Figuring the guy out. Wanting to know what the guy thinks of himself. And it's like they're just a couple of regular dudes.

Okay, I want to talk about the other stories later, and maybe do a wrap-up when I re-read these again. Lots to think about now that I've read the whole thing. This collection grew on me, for sure, and I think with a couple more reads, I'll find it even more so.

2 drops:

moonrat said...

sushi, sushi, sushi...sushi, sushi, sushi...

C. Dappen said...

I'm so glad you liked the book!

Thanks for the advice on college. Honestly, I would stay in it forever if I could.

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