August 31, 2010

On the Edge

Since I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy, I feel more desperate to get some good reading in. This past week I have read two books that left my heart in knots and my soul reeling.

1) Push by Sapphire: This is the story of Precious, an illiterate, obese African-American teenager who is pregnant for the second time with her father's child. Obviously Precious has not had an easy life, being raped continuously by her father and abused constantly by her mother. Her story could be the same as any other hopeless teen's growing up under such awful circumstances - but an alternative school is what ends up being Precious's call to a normal life. This book hurt so much to read, because it's told in Precious's voice (and if you've ever read Flowers for Algernon, then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about) - and that voice is a powerful, wounded, and heartbreaking one. I highly recommend this book, although it is quite graphic (so much so that at times I felt nauseated while reading it).

2) Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson: Lia, the teenaged main character, is anorexic. Her estranged best friend Cassie has just turned up dead. This book chronicles Lia's descent into terrifying darkness as she struggles to keep control over her weight - and her sanity. Anderson is an absolutely amazing writer; reading her novels is like reading dark poetry on a quiet, blistering cold night. This is another book that I cannot recommend enough - all I can say is damn, I am so glad that I am not a teenager anymore.

I have a bunch of books that I would love to read before Burt Reynolds is born. I'm supposed to be a good natural birther and should be reading my stack of birth books that have been waiting for me, but oh, these novels and books of poetry are so tempting. I'm trying to balance it all out - some fun reading here, some birth reading there.

I am a little nervous that once Burt Reynolds is born, I will never be able to read again. Or do anything else, for that matter. I'm trying to remind myself that I had the exact same fear when I was pregnant with Charlie, and look at me! Still reading, and miraculously, I still have a life. I suppose it will take time to figure out how to fit in all in, but I know it's possible. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my (relative) freedom.


phairhead said...

THANK YOU, LESLIE!!! You pulled me out of my funk w/ books. Time to go to the library

amber said...

I absolutely LOVED Wintergirls. I agree, Anderson is a wonderful writer and manages to plunk the reader directly into Lia's head. It's so hard to read, but so good.