9. Other Voices, Other Rooms, Truman Capote (March 11)
I knew about this book and had meant to read it after I decided I LOVED In Cold Blood, but I could never find a copy of it. So of course, I ended up finding it at the Book Off near my house while I was just killing time waiting for my friend and boyfriend, who were moving slowly through the DVD section of the store. I don’t like to stand in that section too long, because if I do, I might slip and drop Y20,000 ($200) on original Sailor Moon DVDs. And the boyfriend doesn’t want that. So instead, I go hang out in the tiny English books (read: books in all other languages, mostly English) section. If I slip there, it will only cost Y700 for two books.
It was on one of these meandering trips that I came across a pristine copy of this book. This is the 3rd or 4th time I’ve come across a book that I’ve bought, which looks like no one ever read it. The spine isn’t creased, the cover near the spine hasn’t been bent. No dog-eared pages, as if it was never opened. In discussing this with a student recently, I was told that often, ‘many housewives don’t want the books to look worn, so they never open the book all the way when they read it’. So now I have a few books in near-perfect condition, thanks to this practice by ‘Japanese housewives’. I wonder if it IS only them that do this.
I’ve always liked a good, worn-looking book, but I’m not going to complain.
This story is apparently autobiographical (at least partially), and deals with a lot of common themes in young adult fiction: yearning for acceptance, isolation, coming-of-age, etc. I know it’s not technically YA, but that’s the theme and age of character we’re reading. It’s gorgeously written and the Southern Gothic style suits the setting well. The character Zoo was definitely my favorite, and her sad story towards the end really upset me. It was nice to read a young teenager’s inner thoughts, something I haven’t read in a while. I think he was searching for the same thing we all are: we just want to be loved and accepted.
Highly recommend, of course.