Monday, April 28, 2008

a place to fall apart

I finished Strong Motion by Jonathan Franzen last night, and I enjoyed it immensely. If you are into stories about dysfunctional people (aren't we all dysfunctional to some degree?), you'd enjoy it, too.

Below are the parts I marked to share...

Louis was, at twenty-three, a not entirely untroubled person. His relationship with money was particularly tortured. And yet what he realized, when the import of the figure began to sink in, was that up until the moment he'd sat down in the burger joint with his father, he'd been basically content with his life and its conditions. A person accustoms himself to what he is, after all, and if he's lucky he learns to hold in somewhat lower esteem all other ways of being, so as not to spend life envying them.

In the help-wanteds there were thousands of boring jobs and no interesting jobs. Until you opened the help-wanteds, it was possible to forget the essence of the average person's job, which was: you perform this soul-killing "data entry" or "telemarketing" or "word-processing" function and we will reluctantly give you money.

She felt a flash of jealousy and anger, and in its light she saw that there was an absolute standard of goodness in the world, an ideal that she was infinitely far from achieving. Louis continued to press his thumbnails into his candy-red sores for no other purpose than the pain it brought him. She knew she had to stay with him and comfort him, but she couldn't bear to see him do that to his feet, and so she left him and lay down by Peter and let guilt and darkness swallow her.


posted by Jennifer at 4/28/2008 08:21:00 PM

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