Tuesday, 18 August 2015

What Was On My Night Table

"Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed."

This was a quote by Sylvia Plath and I've had it written in any number of journals since the 80's as I so identified. Smile

 I honestly thought everything that could be written about Sylvia Plath had been and truthfully, this latest book, American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath by Carl Rollyson did not add much new detail to her life and work. There was a great deal of retelling the story of her life and the people who figured largely in it.  However, Rollyson did confirm how difficult it has been to deal with those entrusted with her estate, namely her sister-in-law and husband.  Even her own mother had problems getting permissions from them to publish anything relating to Sylvia.
 I always feel a little sad about this...Sylvia apparently did not like the sister-in-law and the feeling was mutual; at the time of her death she was separated from the husband, yet they had total control over and benefited greatly from her literary estate.

Sylvia was a master of images.  I will share one of my favourites; it is from Morning Song, a poem she wrote about her baby daughter. The opening line goes

                                  "Love set you going like a fat gold watch."

I love the way a baby could be compared to an intricate mechanism such as a clock and of course being a gold one, it is of the highest value.  I wonder did she think of the phrase we often use with children....'good as gold'. 
Ticking and clocks are prevalent in her work and I always think how she ultimately controlled her own ticking clock.  Would modern day medicine have helped her?  Who knows.

 Just finished Joseph Boyden's Giller Prizewinner, The Orenda.  It was well written and interesting as far as the topic went. However I had to push myself to finish it.  I found the anticipation of reprisals lengthy, the violence a little gratuitous, and the three main characters a little flat and lifeless.   I just didn't find it all that compelling. Obviously well researched but I really didn't empathize with anyone as much as I should have.  It was me not the book, I probably think.

I must share with you a book I did enjoy very much, Mary Lawson's Road Ends.  Yes, finally a book I can say I read to the end without having to prod myself to keep reading.  In fact I read this book in two days.
 The story is about a family whose parents totally lack parenting skills and the way the children adapt and cope in such a household.  I loved both of the older children, Megan and Tom and in the beginning felt so much frustration with the parents.  However, that lessened as Mary's wonderful story telling led you to view them in a completely different and more understanding light.  This is a story that while showing the struggles facing certain families, reaffirms what life, love and family is really all about.
Probably what a book should do.