Sunday, December 11, 2011

Read it with me?

I'm up to page 240.

I'm wondering if this book could be the foundation of about a zillion posts I could make, consecutively over the next x amount of time.

Anyone else reading it? If not, do ya wanna? Would love to hold someone's hand along the way.

But if I am to trek solo, I want to share bits and pieces of this mammoth tome. For I am loving it so and want to shout about it from the mountain tops.

18 comments:

Alex said...

I'm willing to give it a bash. Haven't read a novel in a long time. If it's really good, why not.

I'm not at home at the moment; won't be till the end of the week. And looking at my library's website, it seems there's a couple hundred people have it reserved. I might swing by Dymocks or something tomorrow and see if I can get a copy. It'll give me something to do at the motel, at least.

Melbourne Girl said...

Awesome Alex but you'll have to catch up, I don't know that I can wait for you it's so compelling.

I would love to be able to discuss this with someone as I'm reading it.

Do you travel for work?

Alex said...

Do you travel for work?

Not usually; but being a little bit of a rough-arsed bushie, with few family commitments, who seems to be related to every second person in every other one-horse bog-hole west of the range; it means that I'm kind of suited to those out-of-the-way type jobs that nobody from the city is ever keen on doing more than once. You know what I'm talking about?

Anyway, I decided to get the ebook version online. Now I just have to get the software running on this crappy little gizmo I travel with. Will do my best to catch up.

Also, how did the big blogger-meet-and-greet go?

Melbourne Girl said...

Cool, I'm up to page 328 now. But won't get much reading done today or tomorrow cause I am busy all day, both days.

I'm taking notes as I go, only when there's a ZOMG moment and I have to put the book down for a moment and go WTF???

*

Blogger meet and greet was good. I'd met Ramon a couple of times before, was really nice to meet Mr E and Kettle and put faces to names. It's always a little nerve-wracking I was a bit scared about meeting Mr E cause I think I bug him on the other blog, but he was just a cuddly and sweet pussycat (a very intelligent and gracious pussycat). So curiosity always overcomes trepidation for me. Hell, I was going to CB eyeballs in supermarket car-parks when I was 15 or 16. Once, I agreed to meet a man for a drink who had rung our family home by mistake. A wrong number, he said, but we kept chatting. Years later I wondered if that was his MO.

Captain said...

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squib said...

I'm trying to finish Our Mutual Friend before we go away, otherwise I will have to book it its own seat on the plane, it's so massive

Usemeplz said...

Great book, there are so many great feelings, written there. Many amazing thinkings can be inspired by it..

Alex said...

Well, I'm certainly glad to hear there weren't any fireworks between you and Mr E.

I was going to CB eyeballs in supermarket car-parks when I was 15 or 16. Once, I agreed to meet a man for a drink who had rung our family home by mistake. A wrong number, he said, but we kept chatting. Years later I wondered if that was his MO.

It's kind of difficult for me to grasp exactly what that would have been like, since, where I grew up, the only people you didn't know were from out of town (not that knowing who someone is makes them harmless). My thinking tells me that it should seem risky. Out of curiosity, how would you feel about your own fifteen-year-old daughter going out to meet a stranger in a car-park?

Anyway, I've made a good start on the book. I'm just wondering: how many pages does your paper copy have? My ebook has almost two thousand.

Melbourne Girl said...

Hi squib, this is where some people would say 'get a kindle' but not me. I say 'book that extra seat' or 'read faster.'

When do you leave and where are you going? (I've just clicked, I need to send you something but you're going...) Are you going to live back in the west when you come back? Are you going to have a travel blog or something? Have a great time!!!

*

Usemeplz - have you finished the book? I agree about the feelings and by golly it's a stupendous book. I said to my husband last night that I think it's one of the best books I've ever read, but I've just hit a 'weird' patch or should I say 'weirder' patch. I was pretty tired last night, and wired, so the reading wasn't as wonderful.

*

Alex, of course I'd be off my nut if my daughter was meeting people in car parks. My mum obviously didn't know what I was doing, so I just hope my kid has more sense than me. I think she does anyway which is not to say she won't make mistakes or make bad calls or knowingly do stupid things. We all do, though maybe not everyone did as stupid things as me. While I'm still breathing and nothing bad ever happened, I don't take any credit for that. I thank chance, good luck and the kindness of strangers (or lack of malevolence of strangers.)

My paper copy has 925 pages but small print.

Melbourne Girl said...

Usemeplz, just looked at your link. Hmmm, you had me fooled. Well done.

Melbourne Girl said...

Hi squib, this is where some people would say 'get a kindle' but not me. I say 'book that extra seat' or 'read faster.'

When do you leave and where are you going? (I've just clicked, I need to send you something but you're going...) Are you going to live back in the west when you come back? Are you going to have a travel blog or something? Have a great time!!!

*

Usemeplz - have you finished the book? I agree about the feelings and by golly it's a stupendous book. I said to my husband last night that I think it's one of the best books I've ever read, but I've just hit a 'weird' patch or should I say 'weirder' patch. I was pretty tired last night, and wired, so the reading wasn't as wonderful.

*

Alex, of course I'd be off my nut if my daughter was meeting people in car parks. My mum obviously didn't know what I was doing, so I just hope my kid has more sense than me. I think she does anyway which is not to say she won't make mistakes or make bad calls or knowingly do stupid things. We all do, though maybe not everyone did as stupid things as me. While I'm still breathing and nothing bad ever happened, I don't take any credit for that. I thank chance, good luck and the kindness of strangers (or lack of malevolence of strangers.)

My paper copy has 925 pages but small print.

Alex said...

Hi squib, this is where some people would say 'get a kindle' but not me. I say 'book that extra seat' or 'read faster.'

As a counterpoint, Squib, I say reading on electronic devices is great (doesn't have to be a Kindle); especially if you don't handle tiny print so well anymore.

Alex, of course I'd be off my nut if my daughter was meeting people in car parks.

I thought that seemed like the most reasonable response. I too am surprised to be in one piece when considering the dopey shit I did. One of the things that tears me apart when dealing with younger relatives is when I think "what would have gotten through to me at that age?" and I realise the answer is "nothing". It's like being completely powerless in the face of something that is insurmountably pointless, stupid and unnecessary.

I've finished volume one. Do you want to continue discussions here or elsewhere? I'm just thinking that if we do it here, anyone who reads is going to have it spoiled.

Melbourne Girl said...

Yes you're right Alex about what can you say to 'get through to someone' at that age.

My daughter doesn't not listen to me, just as I didn't not listen to my mother. The thing is my mother didn't know and probably never dreamed I could be that stupid or unthinking. So it's about me remembering those stupid things and the ignorant things, and remembering how thoughts and actions 'happen' when you're a teenager (ie there's sometimes not a lot of thought, sometimes just compulsive action?)

I also think though that teenagers get a bad wrap and they are pretty awesome at making good decisions. I know my daughter can handle herself pretty well and I really don't think she'd be as stupid as I was. She already is much smarter than I was (even am now, sometimes.)

It's when drink gets in the mix that things can go awry. My daughter was telling me how much people were drinking at a recent party. We are talking 15 year olds, and they were knocking back straight vodka out of the bottle constantly, she said, for five hours it seemed.

I said that seems impossible for anyone, even adults, to be still standing with that kind of intake. She said yes there was vomiting and yes people were staggering and drunk, but no one was passed out or unable to get up once they'd fallen over (people were falling over.)

She also said she felt safe even though it was a large group (slightly over 100) at a house party. She knew there were parents there (they walked through or looked in every hour or so, I guess to make sure no one was in trouble). There was also a pool so they were worried about that. No alcohol was provided by the parents so the kids brought it all. My daughter said there were green shopping bags filled with alcohol left behind, to be taken to the next party, because people who'd brought it (somehow? from where?) wouldn't be able to take it home with them...

Interesting.

So back to risk taking and stuff, all I can do is keep talking to my kids, let them know that they can talk to me without me freaking out (my daughter told me she had a sip of the vodka with green stuff and a bit of beer with lemonade, THAT'S A SHANDY I said.)

So I don't think it's about getting through to the kids, because they won't not do something because you're telling them not to. In fact, it's most likely they will do it because you're telling them not to. So the next best thing you can do is give them information in an accurate, direct, non-judgey manner so that they know if they do this, a, b, c, d can happen, and if a happens, then e, f, g can happen, if it's b, then h might happen... etc. And if it all goes to shit, I'll be there to help you as best I can.

I think kids worry the most about disappointing their parents and being judged. I believe this is why a lot of sexual abuse doesn't get told when it should. They don't want their parents, especially their mothers if they love them a lot, to see them as changed or 'spoiled.'

*

To 1Q84, no let's do it here, I'll start a new post. Was going to do it anyway. Wow, you have read quickly, love it.

Will put a spoiler alert along the top.

Alex said...

The thing is my mother didn't know and probably never dreamed I could be that stupid or unthinking. ...[but]... I know my daughter can handle herself pretty well and I really don't think she'd be as stupid as I was.

Of course, I don't know the particulars of how your relationships with your mother and daughter are different, but you can see why this looks like obvious symmetry, right?

The description of your daughter's party sounds completely accurate and un-exaggerated to me. We used to treat throwing-up as a joke; "makin' room to fit more in" and "alcohol kills the taste of vomit" were common phrases. Passing out, of course, was to be avoided, since you didn't know who might have their way with you -- and if it was more than one, you'd never hear the end of the jokes. There was a story that went around about a young fella who was part of a group who fucked a girl who was passed out with her dress pulled up over her head -- and later found out it was his sister. I never doubted it could happen.

As for where the grog came from: Well, we only partied at houses occupied by younger people (party houses), out in paddocks or by the river; so there was always a mix of ages but never any proper adult supervision. Younger girls would hook up with older guys and become alcohol conduits to their mates and their mates mates. Some people had older friends, older relatives or friends of older relatives who would buy it for them. Some bottle-o workers were also known to sell to anyone. I built my own still in my dad's workshed in the backyard.

Of course, I told my folks as few details as I could get away with. As you said, I hated the idea of disappointing them, but I also hated the idea of worrying them. In a way, what I really wanted to do was protect them*. That's why I tend to be very suspicious of anything my younger relatives tell me; even when I think they are smart and have the best intentions.

*I should point out that I had some of the strictest and most caring parents I knew. A lot of people I grew up with had folks who were, well, have you ever seen the short film "Martha's New Coat"?

Melbourne Girl said...

No haven't seen that film will look it up.

*

I'm not sure what you mean about symmetry but yes, I can see it. Are you saying that I'm naive? To think my daughter is smarter than I was even when I was older than her? Maybe it is naive to think she won't make mistakes and do stupid things (yes, it is naive, and that's not really what I'm saying) but maybe she won't do the really stupid things I did because she'll have a better self esteem? So it's not about intelligence, it's about something else. Maybe.

I don't think she's not going to try stuff and make mistakes. And I know she will filter stuff, she won't tell me everything. But she tells me quite a bit, more than a lot of other parents seem to get. So that has to be good?

It will all be what it will all be.

I like that anecdote about the group of guys having sex with the passed out girl whose skirt was over her head and it being one of the guy's sister. Cautionary tale that could be used in schools, even if it's not true and is one of those urban myths. If you get my drift.

Alex said...

Well, it's just that it sounds like your own mother assumed things about you and was wrong and now you're assuming the same things about your own daughter. But, as I said, I don't know everything; only what you've said above. But yes, ultimately, just keeping them informed and being aware of the filtering, and trying to spot it, is about as much as you can realistically do. Or, as much as I know how to do. Not that I don't wish there was more. So frustrating.

And I agree the anecdote makes an excellent cautionary tale. Used it myself a few times.

I definitely recommend checking out Martha's New Coat. You can watch it here, by the looks of things. I don't think any other film has ever affected me in quite the same way. While it's not anything like my actual home life, it's almost an exact depiction of my surroundings in high school (okay, the time and place and fashion and so on were different, but I mean the people and all the little details of how they behaved: "Nobody comes to the front door, etc"). Nothing overblown or exaggerated or false about it. Like someone reached into my guts and pulled out a snapshot of my youth. On the other hand, you may get nothing out of it.

Melbourne Girl said...

Hi Alex

Just watched Martha's New Coat. There was a lot in it and the time flew, watching it. It was simple and not at all overdone, which was good. Thanks for recommending it and thank fuck there was some hope at the end, the significant looks between the mother and boyfriend in the car.

A vehicle for the daughter I think. She was okay but probably only got the role because Dad was producer and Mum director. And I bet it was nothing like her/their upbringing, although maybe Bryan was from down to earth beginnings.

Alex said...

The first half is what gets me. As I say, apart from the clothes, hair, piercings and any other little things that are too modern, every time I watch it, I'm just overcome with this weird sense like deja-vu. I knew this place and these people. Especially the girl who gives Martha a bit of a kicking by the railroad tracks. I think she might be my favourite actress in this, too.