Kindness takes more strength than I have now. I didn’t realize how much effort I used to put into it.
MOTIVATION for READING: Because I loved Gilead. I love the quiet powerful books.
WHAT’s it ABOUT: Gilead is a fictional small town in Iowa and the book of the same name is about a Congregationalist minister contemplating some key elements of his life as he looks back on relationships and pivotal events. This book is a companion piece to Gilead, with other characters’ viewpoints and stories featured more prominently. Where Gilead was about Ames, this book is about Jack and his sister Glory, children of Ames’ best friend Robert. I suppose that is more than you need to know and yet doesn’t tell anything at all.
There was a barely restrained glee about him, as though he felt he had done something, or had done nothing, to excellent effect.
WHAT’s GOOD: Oh.
Sentences. Provocations? Emotions.
What’s NOT so good: What is not so good for me is having to read all the reviews that say this book is boring. They said that about Gilead, too. I was never bored so that claim rings false. I should respect those who make it but I don’t have to like it.
As a matter of courtesy they treated one another’s deceptions like truth which was a different thing from deceiving or being deceived.
Sure, Jack smiles too much and glances at Glory a lot. But it felt so true. Such a different time. What would a bum son look like in now times? Would such a degenerate be so good to his father? Was he good? What IS good? Takes my breath away. And poor Glory. Ugh. Trapped in our roles, are we? I can’t write a review, I can only ask more questions.
She used to ask yourself, What more could I wish? But she always distrusted that question, because she knew there were limits to her experience that precluded her knowing what there was to be wished.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Beautiful. Sad. Contemplative. Aching.
“She said you hated cream pie, but I was certain I remembered you had a special fondness for it, and she made it on my say-so, despite her reservations.”
“It’s pretty leathery by now,” she said.
“You see, she’s trying to prejudice you against it! You’d think we’d made a wager of some kind!”
Jack said, “I like cream pie.” He glanced at her.
RATING: Five slices of pie. Apple pie.
He asked for a look at the pie before the top crust went on – “more fragrant than flowers!” – And for look at it afterward, on the edge had been fluted and the vents were cut.
The kitchen began to smell of pie baking.
That odd capacity for destitution, as if by nature we ought to have so much more than nature gives us. As if we are shockingly unclothed when we lack the complacencies of ordinary life. In destitution, even of feeling or purpose, a human being is more hauntingly human and vulnerable to kindnesses because there is the sense that things should be otherwise, and then the thought of what is wanting and what alleviation would be, and how the soul could be put at ease, restored. At home. but the soul finds its own home if it ever has a home at all.