Writing update, and book review!
With the advent of Tango and A Little Weird coming out (it's out in print now!), I haven't had much time for writing. A Little Queer is next on the docket; the fantasy trilogy is still burbling in the back of my head, and I've re-plotted the spy book several times now. Everything is tightening up, but nothing is ready to go. Status quo, right?
Let's talk about books I've been reading, instead. Specifically, a couple of fictions: Little Bee by Chris Cleeve and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.
Little Bee has possibly one of my favorite quotes:
"...I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived."
This was an incredibly powerful book. A really hard read, in some cases, but very powerful. It had more breathtaking passages in it than any book I've ever read.
Little Bee is about a Nigerian refugee who goes to England illegally, and an English widow who had met her in Nigeria, and tries to help. By the end of the book, Little Bee has grown as a character and everything comes full circle. Everything is tied up and complete. You put this book down going, "...wow."
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is likewise a 'wow' story with beautiful passages (though, I must admit, it pales in comparison to Little Bee). It's about a mute boy whose family owns a kennel, and his life up until teenagehood.
I loved the descriptions of the dogs. I mean, this guy knows dogs better than some dog trainers I know. They were gorgeous, and true to dogs, and I LOVED THAT because you never see it. I also loved that Edgar has a disability, and he's still the star of the book. It was a great book, with very human characters.
It also left me with this taste in my mouth that nothing will ever work out, and you might as well stop trying. All the things that Edgar learned and grew from and then tried to apply? None of them worked. It all happened within the last twenty pages, and by the fourth-to-last page I was like, "AGH, don't tell me he's going to fail in this, TOO." And not failing in a hilarious way, but in a heartbreaking way. At least in Little Bee there was heartbreak (oh, boy, was there ever: also rape triggers like whoa, for those of you who need to know), but success. In Edgar you feel like, what's the point learning and growing? It's all going to be fucked up, anyway.
...But it was pretty. I'd recommend it for the language and a very human character with a disability, if nothing else.
(Seriously, though. What is it with fictional books and bittersweet endings? Or just endings that are defeatist? I have enough stress and worry in my life: I don't want to read that maybe there isn't any point in making things better.)
So, yes, there you go. Go! Read and buy books!