Thursday, October 28, 2010

Unfinished Reading I: Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen

(In which I realized that the darkness within a family fiction doesn’t really suit me.)


Although we were reminded not to judge a book by its cover, I often do. Look. Who wouldn’t love the blackness and the blueness and the drama of an iris? Now, you get the point.

But as soon as you found out that the title suggests bruises and that it’s about an eye that watches and searches and another that watches and hides, you just know you’re in for some depressing psychological read. Which is actually not bad. Until you realize that you’d rather not read at all than be submerged in depression one hot, sunny afternoon.

The first flips of Anna Quindlen’s Black and Blue seemed a promising relationship between my eyes and the paper. Frannie, the nurse who got beat up by her husband sounded real, along with her pains and fears and her attempt to normalize a family that is actually rotten in the core. She put up with the physical abuse and the rape and covered the black-and-blue marks everyday with makeup and lived “normally”. Until she realized she could take no more. Then she sought help from a woman in an agency whose job is to find ways on how a victim of domestic violence could “disappear” in the hopes of living a new life. She brought her son, Robert, with her and lived with a new name, made new friends in a new neighborhood miles away from her husband. But the tragedy that haunted her doesn’t make her any distant from the nightmare. And every day she lived with utmost care and paranoiac in fear of being discovered by the man she once loved but now she chose to run away from.

Yes, and that’s half of the novel. Some run-on sentences and sporadic recollections that drove me crazy. But as I said, it’s not really bad. We all have our preferences. Perhaps it’s just because I’m not into novels about dysfunctional families with plots that run like a Jennifer Lopez movie.

But life goes on. In this case, reading does. Besides, there are more art fictions to read.

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