Sunday, January 3, 2016

Terminally Unique

That's a term used in AA to describe an addict's belief that he or she is different than everyone else. For years, I thought that I was superior because I eschewed the kinds of books that sentimental women devour. I don't mind sentimental stories in young adult books, because if the emotions felt by the characters come across as intense or melodramatic, it's a good thing. It's an accurate motif for adolescence because that's what adolescence is. But grown ups are supposed to be more practical, and I simply can't abide by stories in which grown women weep and moan about like lovesick teenage girls.

But it's only been about three weeks since my last Picoult post, and I'm at it again.

I picked this book up for free a while back, and since I read the other three books I was part-way through over the holiday break, I figured I might as well see what this one's about. So I'm a few pages in and one of the characters is described as "sitting with a reference desk around her waist like a hoop skirt", and my thought process goes something like this: "Reference desk? So she's a librarian. How coo- damn it! DAMN YOU, JODI PICOULT! You've done it again, and drawn me into your stories like their New England settings and your heart-wrenchingly accurate descriptions of mothers and their children and now this character's a librarian so there's an even stronger connection. There's no way out now."

And if the character's profession wasn't 
enough of a taste, she had me hooked with this passage:

"Librarians were on par with God- who else could be bothered with, and better yet, know the answer to so many different kinds of questions? Knowledge was power, but a good librarian did not hoard the gift. She taught others how to find, where to look, how to see."

I feel like if I ever meet Jodi Picoult, it's going to be a face off, with dramatic music piped in from somewhere unknown and cinematic close-ups of my facial expressions as I encounter the writer who dares to draw me into her well-written stories, with her maternal love narratives and New Hampshire tributes and librarian flattery.  .  .

Or, it might look something like this:

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