Marilyn Gardner Woods
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
I am in three books clubs now. I do not have a library card.
Chesapeake, granddaughter number five, suggested a joint book club where she selects a book for us to read and discuss one month, me the next. We finished The Invisible Life of Addie Larue which compelled and confused me as the heroine time-traveled over three-hundred years.
In the end, we both agreed on our affection for Henry, the bookstore clerk who eventually wrote Addie’s story. I particularly loved when Addie discovered that she could influence artists and be a kind of muse. I had trouble with Luc, the antihero being of the dark.
We did not agree on the ending, (me, author left it open for a sequel—her, wrote ending to leave you wondering) but I can now better understand the appeal of Young Adult romance, supernatural, self-discovery, illusion, and “in-the-moment” storytelling that fascinates my granddaughter.
For our next selection, to be my choice, I offered my disclaimer:
You know, I do write memoir, and if it’s okay…
Sure, Neeny, anything you want us to read.
I’ve been wanting to read This Boy’s Life by Tobias Wolff for a long time. Google it and if you’re okay to read it, I’ll have a copy sent to you.
Faster than a minute:
Ooooh, it looks so good. Let’s do it. No need to send. I’ll get it at the library.
How cool that she loves libraries. Within two weeks of her family’s relocation from Arizona to Nags Head, NC, she had gotten her new library card from Kill Devil’s Hill Library in the Outer Banks area.
When I questioned:
Your library card says East Albemarle Regional Library System and then it says Kill Devil Hills Library - is that the one you go to?
Yeah, East Albemarle Regional is the system, so it has a few different libraries from other cities and Kill Devil Hills is the one I go to
That’s the real name?
Yes, it is 😂 at least it’s not Worship Devil Hills…
Has my young teenager has been escaping into too many YA fantasy worlds of imagination, peril, and darkness through books?
Chesapeake has been a library-goer since she was three years old when her mom, Jennifer, took her and younger brother, Cash, to the Prescott Valley Public Library for story time. Like her, others in my world, like are dedicated to libraries.
Gail, my best pal, walking partner, and newly committed writer, served as a longtime member of the board of the San Diego Public Library Foundation.
And in Texas, Carolyn Jenkins Barta (Sis y'all) my friend since our youth (North Dallas High School, Texas Tech University) distinguished journalist, was recently elected to the board of directors of the Friends of the Dallas Public Library.
I am so lame. I need to get a library card which will put me in very good company.
At bedtime last night, I began This Boy’s Life.
I read the first three paragraphs which were written in the most seducing manner of any book I’ve read in a long while:
“Our car boiled over again just after my mother and I crossed the Continental Divide. While we were waiting for it to cool we hear, from somewhere above us, the bawling of an airhorn. The sound got louder and then a big truck came around the corner and shot past us into the next curve, it trailer shimmying wildly. We stared after it. ‘Oh, Toby,’ my mother said, ‘he’s lost his brakes.’
The sound of the horn grew distant, then faded in the wind that sighed in the trees all around us.
By the time we got there, quite a few people were standing along the cliff where the truck went over. It had smashed through the guardrails and fallen hundreds of feet through empty space to the river below where it lay on its back among the boulders. It looked pitifully small. A stream of thick black smoke rose from the cab, feathering out in the wind. My mother asked whether anyone had gone to report the accident. Some had. We stood with the others at the cliff’s edge. Nobody spoke. My mother put her arm around my shoulder.”
Continental Divide, racing vehicle, no brakes, smashed through guardrails, thick black smoke, mom’s embrace. Exhilarating writing that grabbed me with brute force immediately.
The language—boiled, bawling, shimmying wildly, sighed, pitifully small, feathering—evocative. And the combination of long (fifty words) sentences punctuated with concise ones—"We stared after it.”—and abrupt ones—"Some had.” And “Nobody spoke.” Intriguing variety with pulsing rhythm. Lyrical without embellishment.
No question, I will devour this book, a memoir of boyhood in the 1950s touted as a true modern classic written over thirty years ago.
My big hope, Chesapeake will too. At this point, she has:
I started This Boy’s Life today-it’s really interesting! It’s also so crazy to think it’s a real person’s life and not a work of fiction. I like it so far!
Love how she loves reading.
Deep down, a bigger hope that she will one day become a writer.
Ahhh Marilyn that is so neat! I will look for the book because of what you shared!😊❤️
It's always nice to see your name in lights! Enjoyed the post and envy your book club w/granddaughter.
I haven't read the Wolff memoir. But now I will.
I'll probably check it out of the library because I do have a card!
As of now, I've told JoAnne I'm still game to come to San Antonio in October, but we'll all have to see what happens in the next month or so. Jerry and I got our Moderna booster shots today, a little ahead of the September roll out.
Love your grandmother/granddaughter book club. What a great idea! DI
I already LOVE Chesapeake and will get my copy of This Boy's Life in order to travel in a parallel world (I googled it and it sounds like a must read)