Monday, June 29, 2009

Let's mock the midnight bell!

Current book: Look Homeward, Angel
Pages read: 70-150

Sunday seems to be "Forget to post" day. Maybe I'll just make it a day off every week. It's not like I ever read on Sundays anyway. Well, not the list books. (Um. I mean, I never read anything besides the list books. Ahem.)

I have to say, Thomas Wolfe is growing on me. The histrionic philosophizing is still a little obnoxious, but after a while it gets to be sort of endearing. You know, like a crazy uncle, where you're like, "Oh, there goes old Thomas again, rattling on about the virginal dawning of the buds in spring and the hellish maw of a night spent in the contemplation of mortality." (Honestly, I hope to be old and crazy like that one day. If the neighborhood kids are scared of me, so much the better.)

We're still following Eugene through his youthful development. He goes to school and learns about cliques and teasing, but also about making friends and defending himself. He develops a strong bond with his elder brother, Ben, and eventually, at the behest of his impoverished parents, joins Ben in selling The Saturday Evening Post after school. Sometime when Eugene's around 10 years old, his mother Eliza buys a boarding house in town and steps in as proprietress, taking Eugene to live with her there. This effectively separates Eliza and her husband, who is still a foul-mouthed, crazy drunkard, but less abusive than he once was. (I thought he was going to bite it at one point, but he pulled through. Damn.) Eliza runs the boarding house profitably, though she's clearly a skinflint who maltreats her largely black staff. After a while she rents out the management of the boarding house and takes Eugene with her on trips through the southern United States, where, for a while, they settle down long enough for Eugene to attend another school. They're away for some time, and it creates a break in the plot in which we learn that Ben misses his brother a great deal, but Mr. Gant is getting along just fine without his wife. We're still in that break, and I believe Eugene and Eliza will soon return, and then we'll move along again.

Like I said, it's growing on me. I'm interested in Eugene and what will become of him in his rather difficult circumstances. He's working with an abusive, alcoholic father, a crass, racist, skinflint mother, and a motley assortment of brothers and sisters, some of whom are upstanding hard workers, and some of whom are on their way to becoming criminals. He's obviously incredibly intelligent, creative, and somewhat ambitious. I believe our hero is destined for great things. (Partially because Thomas Wolfe told me so at the beginning of the book.)

Tomorrow's my birthday, so I won't be posting. Instead, revelry!

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