Friday, September 18, 2009

blindsided

The Knife of Never Letting Go may well be the death of me. Okay, that's a tad melodramatic, huh? But I swear if this emotional gauntlet doesn't soon end...

I sat down last night with over an hour of time for "recreational" reading. Sounds heavenly, right? And yet I only managed about 20 minutes. Because I hit this scene that just devastated me. I just crumpled. Not outside physically crumpled. But inside, metaphorical implosion. And I just couldn't read on at that point. Just couldn't.

Yes, I'll be picking it back up today. Of course. I couldn't stop this ride if I wanted to. But it's got me thinking...why am I so emotionally invested in this book? Seems like a question that with a little self-knowledge I should be able to answer. But I can't.

Yes, I care about the characters. I do. But there have been plenty of other books in which I care deeply for the characters and still yet don't have this kind powerful reaction to reading.

Yes, the story is fast-paced and suspenseful. But I used to read "thrillers" on a regular basis. Every bit as fast-paced. Definitely suspenseful. But I never had this type of personal connection.

Yes, there is a big chunk of the picture missing. I'm anxious to find out the "why" of everything that is happening in the story. But I don't think that is the ultimate grip on me either.

Is it a massive combination of these and other factors? Or is it some intangible that I'll never quite understand? And does it really matter? Do I need to understand my reaction to somehow give it more credibility? I'm not sure that I do. The experience is real whether I can define it or not.

What about you? Have there been books that have just turned you into an ball of nerves? Where your emotional experiences with the book have felt nearly suffocating? And if so, could you even put your finger on why?

Maybe I'm just going off the deep end...

12 comments:

Michelle said...

Yes. I had that same reaction when I read this book. Loved it.

Amanda said...

This book...I got so wrapped up in it, so emotionally invested and so pulled along, that I ended up with a mild aversion to it while at the same time I was unable to stop reading. Something about the immediacy, about the characters' voices, they just really grab up and force you to keep going. I can't explain why because normally these characters are not ones I'd connect to, and I don't tend to like this sort of book. In the end, I had to shake my head clear, and ended up giving the book 3 stars. I won't say anything more...

Nymeth said...

I'm not completely sure why it got to me the way it did either. Maybe because it deals with so many things I care about: gender, power, identity, belonging, violence, and so on. But then again, there are other books that do too and I don't love them as much as I loved this. Maybe it's the fact that it's such a smart, subtle, complex, raw, not black-and-white and brilliantly written book, but it's never just the book: it's always the reader too. So basically, I blabbed this much to say I don't know either :P

Suey said...

This one is coming in the mail to me today from Aamzon. Wow. I can't wait. But now I'm a little nervous....

Trish said...

Putting it on my wishlist RIGHT NOW.

Kailana said...

I need to finish this book before I say anything because I don't think I am up to the scene you are talking about yet!

Grad said...

Oh my gosh. I have no idea what this book is about, and I've never heard of it, but Debi you really make me want to read it. I hope I can find it in my local B&N this weekend so I don't have to wait!

Chris said...

This book really got to me too Debi..like no other book ever has and that's why I loved it so much. I was so emotionally invested in the characters because Ness connected me with them immediately and just formed a bond between me and these fictional people that only exist on the paper, but I couldn't distinguish that from feeling as if they were really my friends!

Seriously, there is power in that book! He has so much to say about humanity. I think what makes the book so authentic is that he tells the truth. There are so many passages like the one you quoted the other day that ring true...and it's depressing, but it's real...but there ultimately is some light shed throughout the book as well.

I think I know what part you're on that shattered you. And god help me if I'm wrong, because if I am you really have a doozy coming up. But I went through the same kind of thing as you...I had to put the book down.

Just keep on reading Debi..it really is an excellent book, which I'm sure you know and I'm so happy to have read it.

Eva said...

I think I know which part you're at, and it did upset me, but I didn't get caught up in the book as much as I think a lot of people did.

I DID get super caught up in War and Peace though!!! When one of my fave characters died, I get so mad and sad my mom was really concerned. So I get it. :)

Michelle said...

I am definitely putting this on my wish list immediately!! I've had this reaction to books before, but most people think I'm crazy because I reacted like this to the Twilight series (waiting for laughter to subside). It's an extremely personal experience but profoundly moving when it occurs.

Susan said...

Okay, I cried through Skellig and laughed and cried through The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I cry regularly in books. And occasionally I've had to step away from reading one, because it's so intense - Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes is one. So I perfectly get why you had to step back to catch your breath before plunging back in again. It sounds really good, really intense!

Shanra said...

Do I need to understand my reaction to somehow give it more credibility?

No. No, you don't. But, you know, you answer your own question immediately, so... Won't go into that.

For me, I usually do have some idea why books/stories grip me the way they do. They're usually intensely personal reasons, though, and not always ones I can word. Either because I don't know how or because I feel they're too private. (I don't think there's anything wrong with that.)

And this post of yours just leaves me feeling split. On the one hand I'm happy you found a book you can connect to so well. On the other, I'm sad because that means it hurts so much more to read. *huggles*

I guess that's all to say I don't know either...