Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Enveloping what you read

I have read many books in the past that have affected me in small ways. Sometimes its a deep empathy with the characters, occasionally I don't realise there are tears until words blur on the page. Over the past year I have been doing mini reviews on books I've read and many I've had to refer back to because simply they were neither good nor bad, they just didn't affect me. 

My own story I am diligently writing has affected my moods at times and I'm unsure if it is purely because my characters are based upon real life people. Or perhaps it is due to the general storyline being such a sad one. Particularly of where I am in life with my own family and relationships.

I try not to read too many real life stories - we were made to read an autobiography in high school and being forced to read something makes it really difficult to return to that style of writing. Especially when the book I read didn't really make much impact.

Over the years, between the romance novels - I did manage to fit in April Fools Day; Bryce Courtenays' account of his sons life with HIV. The last 50 pages had tears streaming down my face and I swore I'd never read something of the like again.

I tried Anne Rule's Stranger Beside Me. Mainly because ALL the older girls at work were reading it and I had to be in the cool club. For a confronting book it was brilliant. Not my usual genre but an interesting account of being friends with a monster.     

 So I'm not a stranger to real life stories, however I just don't know what I was thinking when I picked up "The Diary of a Young Girl"  

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I thought it would take me some time to wade through the pages, but I sat over the weekend and passed my goal to 150 page count in no time. Pressing on I was soon at page 200. Then I turned 250. 

It was there I started to stumble. A pressing grey cloud was shrouding me and the book felt like it weighed a hundred tonne. I was extremely sad. Now don't get me wrong, I am really enjoying the account of Anne Frank's life.

Yet I was disturbed. I wouldn't say that her writing is depressing because she has written it as a teenager would. The great adventure, the fears of the unknown, the fights within her family unit, living in close quarters with other people. The nitpicking. She was a typical teenager and she wrote openly - unlike what we as adults are able to achieve - and that there is my point. She mentioned being scared and anxious and depressed, but she didn't delve into those feelings. I wouldn't have delved into them at 13 or 14 or even 21 for that matter.

Looking at it from a late 30's perspective, my heart was breaking into a million pieces. To think mankind could be so unkind. To consider having all that teenage angst toward your mother and siblings when outside the world was falling apart. To shake her mother and say "life's too short, stop picking on her" to shaking Anne and saying "these feelings are normal and will pass"

In the end - I had to put the book aside, I picked up a chic-lit rural romance thinking that it would set my mind at ease to escape. Only to fall headlong into a book that had a MAJOR road accident on the first pages (talk about a horrific hook) and with my past; probably not the best book for me to continue reading. Of course I had to keep reading to see who, what, where, why… well played author - well played! Add a "surprise" pregnancy at the end and I was done for. A slobbering wreck of a woman.

Those lingering dark feelings from reading Anne Frank, all tied up with prickling anxiety over this so called "easy read" left me feeling drained and I went to sleep last night with flashes of horrific dreams coming at me all angles!

So please - recommend me something easy to read where I'm not being enveloped by the characters or plot or atmosphere.         

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