Monday, June 18, 2012

Readalong Week 2: My Hundred Lovers by Susan Johnson

I'm late....again!

Actually, I decided to not post this second post earlier because I already posted a quote from the book on Saturday as part of my Weekend Cooking post and so I didn't want to post again so close together.

Please note that there may be some spoilers following.

I found so many aspects of this second section book so interesting without necessarily liking our main character, Deborah, any more than I did previously.

To me, Deborah is a woman with many flaws. She is looking for her sense of worthiness in any way she can whether it be men, or other experiences. She doesn't recognise the difference between sex and love and I think that is a pattern of behaviour that many people would recognise.

As readers, we are only given just enough information about certain aspects of Deborah's life but then a LOT of information about other aspects. For example, we don't know very much about Deborah's relationship with her husband and yet we are 'treated' to chapters like the three man day and a couple of the sexual experiences that had me squirming uncomfortably thinking too much information!

In her discussion post this week, Bree has touched on a number of the important issues including why a woman would stay with a man like the shadow lover despite how unhappy she was, about the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy, various relationships and more.

A couple of things that I wanted to touch on was the addictive personality of Deborah. At one stage, she talks about staying away from heroin because "she adored the way heroin made her feel, and how far from fear it carried her. But she was worried that she loved it too much, and never used it again." I totally related to this sentiment. My father is a recovering alcoholic and so I have always been aware of the power of addiction and the way it destroys the lives of both the addicted person and their family. When I was young and silly, I was absolutely aware of the danger of trying drugs just in case I really liked it. I am fine with having a drink but anything more than that would still scare me a little bit. I was very surprised when I had a conversation with my father about exactly that sentiment and he was actually quite mortified that that was my thought process. I am not precisely sure why to this day! Besides, it turns out that my addiction of choice is food and I am not really achieving much in dealing with that issue.

Without going to the extremes that Deborah does, I can definitely relate to her in so many ways. I loved the sections about her travel to France (where she started calling herself the Suspicious Wanderer). In a way, I think that by wanting to escape to France she is both trying to run away from herself with the hope that she would actually find a different version of herself. When I went overseas to live, in many ways I think I was hoping to find a better version of myself, but in the end what I did find was that no matter how far you travel, where you go, the one thing that you actually take with you is yourself.  When asked where are her roots:

She thought for a moment. She loved Australia but she also loved France. She wondered if she might be like a plant whose roots do not travel down but sideways.

As much as I find Deborah relatable, and sometimes that is quite uncomfortable, the thing that is really making this book a good read is the quality of the writing.

As I read, I always keep an eye out for quotes to use in future posts, whether it be food related like the one I posted on Saturday, or perhaps about Christmas for later in the year, or for the upcoming Paris in July event. The author has the words leaping off the page in such an attention catching way so regularly I ran out of random bits of paper to use as bookmarks and had to start turning down the page corners.   *gasp*

I am really looking forward to finishing the book to see where the author is leading us with this narrative. I suspect that there may be shocks towards the end of the book.

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