Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reading List

I finally finished Elizabeth McCracken's secret plan to enable Kleenex to dominate the planet (aka memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir). I have had the book for I-don't-know-how-long. As in, I have an unedited proof loaned to me by a dear friend who got it from I-don't-know-who-in-the-biz-with-access-to-such-inner-circle-treasures. For vast lengths of time, I couldn't even pick up the book. Nay, I could not even look at the book. I had it hidden in a drawer of my bedside table, buried under potty-training stickers, the useless receipts I can't seem to throw away, and other mangled assorted  bits of  my life's shrapnel.

Though I wish I were just being poetic or flourishy in saying this, it is no exaggeration to confess that every single time I picked up the book, I cried. I might have read a chapter or a page or a paragraph, but I cried every damn time. I don't think I have always been this blubbering a fool, but what the hell, I am now. So it might not have been the best choice to bring the book on a work trip. It was ill-advised to open the book on a plane shared by 3 coworkers. I narrowly escaped their curious glares by being tucked into a window seat far from them, however, and their view of my weepy mess was further obscured by a matched pair of grandparents (and by matched I mean, the same butter yellow sweaters, white polo shirts and pressed khakis). There is something about McCracken's stoicism that brought me to my knees. I felt like we were partners in this story, the way my husband and I balance out each other's moods and weaknesses. I suspect the strength of her writing and her narrative gave me permission? space? to express what we tend to regard as weakness, the betrayal of those tears.

I know I'm not alone in saying that, Pudding, you are missed. You are loved. And you are remembered by so many.

Now I'm reading KuKd. Who knows where all this reading might lead? In a few years I might be ready for Dr. Davis.


  1. Yes. Yes. I have a feeling a mutual friend brought this book into our lives. I devoured it, and I cherished her friendship more for sharing it with me. Solidarity, stoicism, survivalism, love. All of that. I wanted to go out and smoke a pack of cigarettes with McCracken as I reached the climax (nadir?) of the story. I don't smoke, so bottles of red had to do. M. still won't pick it up. But it is here should he ever want. I am so glad you did, and that it resounded in the same way. I find it does, or it doesn't.

    Can I borrow KuKd when you're done? :-) Because that means we have to hang out for the book transfer.

  2. I took An Exact Replica with me to the first work conference I attended after my son's death and I clung to that book as I walked from meeting to meeting. I felt like carrying it with me was a secret way of saying, "I can hold it together and I may look okay, but I'm really not okay at all."

    I'm so glad the book helped create a space for you where tears could be safe and welcomed.

  3. I'm afraid my own copy of Ms McCracken's secret plan is still hidden in my equivalent of your bedside table drawer, lurking alongside 'The Lone Twin.' I'm sure I will read them both one of these days but even the sight of the front covers make me want to cry. Still.

    I'm glad that the book gave you the permission and space you needed. xo

  4. I read it a while ago. I blogged about it. I also found it good to read. Except she got her take-home-baby, and I didn't.