“Hold the selfies, put the Gram away/ Get your family, y’all hold hands and pray”*
On Friday I received my copy of Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout in the mail. It was a quick read and I finished it in a day. It was a big disappointment. All of the reviews I have read have been raves, so I am in a distinct minority it seems.
Olive, Again is a sequel to Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, which I loved. I have liked most of her books and almost all of them are tied up in this one. Indeed, in a series of linked short stories, we find out what happens to all those Maine characters who have populated her books. What we find out, basically, is that they are all frightened and lonely people with no spiritual life. It is a bleak world where nothing has much meaning. At the end of the book, Olive writes (spoiler alert!), “I do not have a clue who I have been. Truthfully, I do not understand a thing.”
I could go on, but it is just kind of depressing, so why bother.
Anyway, despite reading this disappointing book, daughter # 1 and I got quite a lot done this weekend, tidying up the house for daughter #2’s visit this coming weekend. I even persuaded the OM to hang up a pair of new drapes in my office. I got them on Etsy.com and I think they look great.
We also watched Ghostbusters (1984) which I thought held up very well and is kind of a classic at this point.
The scene at the beginning in the New York Public Library…
reminded us of Lottie…LOL!
Meanwhile, the boy had a fine time at the wedding in Rye, New York.
And now he is home again, home again, jiggety jig.
And now I am back to wondering what to read. Have a good week!
“I don’t myself think much of science as a phase of human development. It has given us a lot of ingenious toys; they take our attention away from the real problems, of course, and since the problems are insoluble, I suppose we ought to be grateful for distraction. But the fact is, the human mind, the individual mind, has always been made more interesting by dwelling on the old riddles, even if it makes nothing of them. Science hasn’t given us any new amazements, except of the superficial kind we get from witnessing dexterity and sleight-of-hand. It hasn’t given us any richer pleasures, as the Renaissance did, nor any new sins-not one! Indeed, it takes our old ones away. It’s the laboratory, not the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world. You’ll agree there is not much thrill about a physiological sin. We were better off when even the prosaic matter of taking nourishment could have the magnificence of a sin. I don’t think you help people by making their conduct of no importance-you impoverish them. As long as every man and woman who crowded into the cathedrals on Easter Sunday was a principal in a gorgeous drama with God, glittering angels on one side and the shadows of evil coming and going on the other, life was a rich thing. The king and the beggar had the same chance at miracles and great temptations and revelations. And that’s what makes men happy, believing in the mystery and importance of their own little individual lives. It makes us happy to surround our creature needs and bodily instincts with as much pomp and circumstance as possible. Art and religion (they are the same thing, in the end, of course) have given man the only happiness he has ever had.”
*Kanye West, “Closed on Sunday”