This week I am looking at the first question “What is Belfiore doing?” We talked briefly in class about how she was putting herself in the story using an anthropological style of writing in “I” form. I view it as she is not only putting herself in the story, but also pulling the reader in so that we are standing right next to her. The sentence “I’m in one of those large, anonymous and endlessly reproducible shopping malls with department stores, super stores and specialty boutiques” put me there. I almost think it was the particular use of the word “anonymous” that told me this could be me too, whatever I picture in my mind is correct.
I admire an author that has the power to pull me into the story. It’s not an easy task, hooking the reader, making the reader care. Maybe it is me, but textiles and weaving did not hold my interest as pickles did. Was it the writing style? I sew, I weave, and I actually prefer those as pastimes, over pickles. I am pressed to try and determine why one chapter grabbed me and another did not. I haven’t started hotels yet…
From here my mind jumped to the novel Push, also written in an “I” form letting the reader in on the young girl’s vivid story using an anthropological lens. Well, first I have not seen the movie, so although I knew the outline of the story from hearing others talk about it and my own daughter announcing she was going to be a social worker after viewing the movie (she has since switched to an English major) I had ultimately avoided the story. It was too much for me to take on, to become emotionally pulled in when I already hear/see too many stories of children lost in the educational system. I wasn’t ready to live the life of a child lost in the same world that I struggle to keep students from falling into, but this week I began this novel; required reading. Forty pages in one sitting and I needed a mental break. This is not to mean that I am not hooked, but that I am drained from being in the story with Precious.
Sapphire, the author, has put us right there, hurting, brutalized and fighting back. The first line of the story, "I was left back when I was twelve because I had a baby for my fahver." made me ache. The broken writing, the street language, the fragments and the resistance that Precious offers from page one puts us right there, visualizing, suffering and aching for her. I go back to the word “anonymous” used by Belfiore. By letting the reader see through that anthropological lens, Sapphire has written the story of an anonymous character and given her life. When I am emotionally prepared to be drawn in again I will lift the book and persevere.