Friday, August 8, 2008

Reasonable Doubt, by Marcia Mickelson

DISCLAIMER: I know the author. Kind of. She's a friend of my wife, and we've met, she's a very nice lady. I don't imagine she'd consider me a friend per se, but I know her well enough that I'm sure that colors my reading.

Do you know, I mentioned this before in sort of askance, in Kilmeny, but the problem with great literature is that usually it doesn't work out for the characters. Like, somehow, all great artists see some intrinsic sorrow in the world, and they write it, and that's why their art is great. I dunno, maybe that's true, and maybe it isn't, but sometimes I like people to fall in love and get married, and have birds sing when they kiss. You know. I really do. This is even more challenging, being as I happen to be of the male persuasion (did that come out wrong? I only mean to imply that I am, myself male, not... oh, nevermind). My acquaintances at work do not, as a general rule, find it culturally acceptable to discuss the great book they just read that made them cry their eyes out at the end. Just, generally, doesn't happen. Great basketball games, yes. Great genre novels, sure. Great new romantic books, not so much. So, pretty much, I never hear about any good weepers, and I never indulge myself, because given that romance has come to involve so many types of books that are... outside of my interests... well, you get the picture. I mostly just don't end up reading much that's new at all, really, romances even more so.

Well, as it so happens, my wife is personally acquainted with a very nice lady, who apparently, has a good handle on my weepy-eye switch. Now, I will admit, I did not cry in this book, but bear in mind taht I read the last three chapters today in one sentence bursts while on my way here or there, or while waiting for a system image (can you imagine the equivalent of that 120 years ago, by the way? Oh yes, I just got through this lovely novel, called Wuthering... Wuthering something, but I had to sneak in chapters between darning Josiah's socks, and interviewing for a new scullery maid, you know...). And I will not pretend (sorry Marcia) that it was a CLASSIC, as it were. It wasn't. It wasn't, you know, a Bronte, or anything. I hope that doesn't hurt to hear :/, I told Amanda I'm not so good at this.

But, oh, it was nice, to just have people, nice, gentle-hearted, damaged, beautiful people, who meet, and just... make everything better for everybody, and it all comes together nicely in the end. It wasn't just that - I know it seems stupid, when you aren't readign a novel, but nonetheless, it fels really... not GOOD, but really invigorating and spiritual to go inside of someone in a book, and hurt with them, and be afraid with them, and cry wtih them, and then find you r way to some sort of home (even if it's a sad home). Catharsis, I guess. You never get catharsis in real life - at least I don't, I don't have the moral courage to let any one thing matter that much. Most of us, I think (or I hope, or, no, I don't hope, but I guess we tend to believe others are just as stupid as we are), don't have that moral courage, much of the time, most of us have some of those yawning maws that we know we'll probably never dynamite shut, but its a basic human need to do so, and sometimes, at least for me, I need to feel that sensation of burial, and cleansing, even if it's vicarious.

This book reminds me fo when I was fairly young, we went to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. Out of a strong respect for my birthed faith, I won't say anything, I think, that a good Mormon would reveal, but I remember going, and I didn't believe the church, or I didn't think it was a force for good at the time, and I had this thought that perhaps all these little souls that were being baptized in proxy perhaps did not want to, that it hurt them, that it pained them, or that it was sort of a sin outside of their control in whatever faith they held. And so I built up this entire story in my head, of carrying the people who did not want to be there out, I thought of it the entire time I was there, doing the things one does in a baptism ceremony in the temple. I'm not particularly proud of that event, it was an ugly thing for me to do, very disrespectful and dishonest, and it didn't really mean anything to me at the time, it was really just a game in my head that I played with myself to feel something in that quiet lulling period in your life when you can't feel anything. But that's what this book reminds me of, it's a - albeit far healthier and kinder - salve not for the moments of abject sorrow in your life, but for those empty moments, when you don't have the strength, the ability, or the courage to do something for someone that you can feel, but when you desperately need to remember what it is to be human.

And, I guessed the murderer the first time we met him, but Amanda tried to mislead me!

By the way, I don't know who the gentleman in the photo is, apparently he's on the run for murder in Australia right now. Doesn't he look like he just pulled off the biggest joke in the world, like, he believes any minute his murdered wife will jump up and laugh it off? IT's kind of a funny picture, until you realize it's kind of a disturbing picture, and that almost makes it funny again, but not quite, because it's a real person. Eeh....

12 comments:

Amanda said...

I want to just say to everyone that I did NOT in any way try to mislead my husband. He asked me, "Is so-and-so the murderer?" and I said, "I'm not telling you anything." If that's misleading, I need to relearn the definition of the word. ;P

BTW, Marcia, I'll say once again that I love this book.

Jason Gignac said...

Then she immediately followed it up by sort of implying that she didn't even remember thename of the person. I don't know, it's probably my fault, I somehow got the impression that she was telling me it was someone kind of peripheral that did't appear until late in the book. I think it's my fault. Nevermind. All hail my wife, absolved of her stain, pure as lilies. All hail. ;)

Amanda said...

Hmm...how does one make an eye-rolling smiley? ;)

terry said...

that guy in the picture reminds me of some minor character actor that appeared in all sorts of forgettable TV cop series, like Barnaby Jones, Hunter, Ironsides, and Matlock. i have no idea of his name, but he always played the bad guy, and always got his just desserts. based on that, i think anyone who looks like this guy should be arrested on sight.

Jason Gignac said...

Huh... you know, that would way simplify the American Justice System. Screw all that Jury nonsense. If they look like a villain movie star, they're probably guilty. George W Bush looks vaguely like the big dumb crook in 101 Dalmatians, and very much like Curious George, who frquently got arrested...

hamilcar barca said...

and McCain's trophy wife is a dead-ringer for Cruella whats-her-name in 101 Dalmatians.

Jason Gignac said...

Oh no... the Republican Party is trying to get those puppies...

hamilcar barca said...

the republicans best bet is to register those puppies in Virginia or Florida. i suspect they're gonna need all the votes they can get this November.

the Cruella/Cindy doppelganger pics are posted at my blog. freaky. scary.

Amanda said...

Mr. Barca - want to leave a link to your blog for everyone since it's not under this profile? i'd leave it for you, since I know it, but I don't know if you'd want me to...

hamilcar barca said...

no problem. it's at www.terliz.blogspot.com

mojo mojo, go panthers!

Marcia Mickelson said...

Interesting Review. I would say we're friends, Jason.

Jason Gignac said...

Still, even after this review? I admire your forgiving nature. ;) By the way - Amanda pointed out that my opinions on the book were utterly unclear. I did like it :).