Mike’s review (Val’s response in Italics)
The dog ripped these notes up pretty good. They’re mostly readable, but there may be some inaccuracies to follow.
Don’t give the dog the notebook.
The dog gets everything. Puppyish, amirightpeople?
“‘I don’t want to die alone,’ he says.” “‘I want to die with someone.'” It’s strange, daring (yuck!) and icky and amazing that my first empathy is with the man with the gun.
Thru reading Steinbeck, I’ve realized villain empathy makes you keep reading.
God, I hope so as I can only write terrible people. Write what you know, amirightpeople?
“I’ve started to see myself like this now: One woman with twins all over. If it hadn’t been me in the park, then it would have been someone else. The reason I have to give a [police] report is so it won’t happen to another woman. Everything is for someone else, for some other woman, somewhere.” The isolation of forced community. Losing the self in the crowd when you need to keep hold of the self.
This seems like internal dialogue, yes? Isolation of forced community being a conundrum. How is it forced? Seems self-imposed, from this excerpt.
Forced because she doesn’t want to receive others’ empathy at this point. Because she, like normal, feels that the gun held at her is uniquely and intensely personal, her very own thing to hold onto that no one else could relate to. But she’s a woman and is sort of forced to accept that her reaction to her attack could affect other women if the man should choose to attack again. But yeah, self-imposed too.
“I don’t want to have to be walked from place to place from now on.” All of this in the first 15 pages.
All of what? Sounds like a gripping read… or maybe too much action?
All of the above. Not too much action. Very good.
Image of younger sister writing worried diary entries about contents of older sister’s diary is great.
Callous, sex-crazed men. I don’t know that there are many of us who would try to fuck someone who’d just been assaulted. But we deserve to be written caricaturely for all the poorly sketched women we (I) have written. These men seem worse than the mane I write. Not sure why.
If I sit here and write notes on all the spot-on images (police insisting guy was black or Hispanic), I will read nothing.
2003: college kid (grandiose sense of self/ego) in New York and no mention of 9/11. It’s weird I thought of it (I really had little to no reaction to 9/11), weird that it matters, weird Vida didn’t mention it. Weird that Boston struck me harder because I am older and because my parents are both marathon runners. Also, 5 people shot in my dad’s apartment complex this week. Death!
Well done with the close observations. I am interested in how male readers read men characters written by women so appreciate you addressing this as well. Not really sure what the 2003: paragraph is about. If you could elaborate on those thoughts because I don’t know what is book and what is personal. Or don’t….
Overall this sounds like a good read and I like the title, as well as the author’s initials so I will seek it out.
2003 was the copyright date. So the book would have been written (probably) 2002, 2001, in the heat of post-9/11 panic/worry and is about a college-aged woman in NYC. College-aged people tend to view everything as about them and everything that happens to them as very important, so it was surprising to me that no mention of 9/11 was made. That uncertainty in the city certainly could be paralleled with the uncertainty of the narrator’s life post-personal-attack. I suppose one could argue that the narrator’s senseless attack is a metaphor for the attack on the city, but I don’t particularly care for that sort of argument.
I’m glad 9/11 was left out; I think it’s a better book for it, but as I recall, NYC could not be mentioned in 2003 without reference to the WTC. So surprised. Not a critique, but an observation, I suppose.