I have just done reading Jodi Picoult's "My Sister's Keeper", and discovered that there are far too many moments of writing that I could play a kind of contact sport with, many that I thoroughly enjoyed. There were also times that I had to put the book down for a bit and distract myself because of the fullness of the emotion that Picoult's characters are able to bring out in the reader. In myself.
Here is one of the extracts that I liked reading. Tightly writ, loaded in so many ways... A reminder of how I would like to tie my more purple prose together:
"Is there any place on earth that smells better than a Laundromat? It's like a rainy Sunday when you don't have to get out from under your covers, or like lying back on the grass your father's just mowed - comfort food for your nose. When I was little my mom would take hot clothes out of the dryer and dump them on top of me where I was sitting on the couch. I used to pretend they were a single skin, that I was curled tight beneath them like one large heart.
The other thing I like is that Laundromats draw lonely people like metal to magnets. There's a guy passed out on a bank of chairs in the back, with army boots and a T-shirt that says Nostradamus Was an Optimist. A woman at the folding table sifts through a heap of men's button-down shirts, sniffing back tears. Put ten people together in a Laundromat and chances are you won't be the one who's worse off.
I sit down across from a bank of washers and try to match up the clothes with the people waiting. The pink panties and lace nightgown belong to the girl who is reading a romance novel. The woolly red socks checkered shirt are the skanky sleeping student. The soccer jerseys and kiddie overalls come from the toddler who keeps handing filmy white dryer sheets to her mom, oblivious on a cell phone. What kind of person can afford a cell phone, but not her own washer and dryer?
I play a game with myself, sometimes, and try to imagine what it would be like to be the person whose clothes are spinning in front of me. If I were washing those carpenter jeans, maybe I'd be a roofer in Phoenix, my arms strong and my back tan. If I had those flowered sheets, I might be on break from Harvard, studying criminal profiling. If I owned that satin cape, I might have season tickets to the ballet. And then I try to picture myself doing any of these things and I can't. All I can ever see is me, being a donor for Kate, each time stretching to the next.
Kate and I are Siamese twins; you just can't see the spot where we're connected. Which makes separation that much more difficult.
When I look up, the girl who works the Laundromat is standing over me, with her lip ring and blue streaked dreadlocks. 'You need change?' she asks.
To tell you the truth, I'm afraid to hear my own answer."
Anna Fitzgerald, 13. My Sister's Keeper, pp89-90, by Jodi Picoult.
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