I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...
"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe
Saturday, August 3, 2013
A Tale Most Masterfully Told
It's that time - I just finished a book I need to add to my Book List 4 Life - it's called The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. I knew nothing about this book when I started reading it – I simply preordered it because it was an author I thoroughly enjoyed. As it turns out, that was all I needed to know.
Though over 400 pages, it took me less than three days to devour it. And it wasn’t in a rushed way – in fact, it’s one of those books you sit down with and then look up from one or two hours later without realizing how much time has passed. In addition, it’s a book that completely sucks you in, making any outside sources of noise or distraction disappear…completely.
It's one of those books that compels you to read it and yet makes you want to look away at the same time due to descriptions that leave nothing to the imagination as well as conflicting emotions all woven beautifully together to tell a fictional story of complex family (and romantic) relationships, hope of redemption, and stories of the Holocaust kept hidden for many years. There is also a story written by one of the characters in the book that acts as a parallel (or, perhaps, allegory?) to the lives of the characters. (It is also quite graphic – be forewarned.) And, in true Jodi Picoult fashion, the novel ends with a twist that makes you want to flip back and reread (at least parts of) the story.
And, though ultimately this is a tale of redemption, it is also a story of self-discovery and acceptance. (There are so many different levels on which the reader can connect to this book!)
Here are some of my favorite quotations from the novel:
"Love isn't the only word that fails. Hate does, too. War. And hope. Oh, yes, hope. So, you see, this is why I never told my story. If you lived through it, you already know there are no words that will ever come close to describing it. And if you didn't, you will never understand."
"When a freedom is taken away from you, I suppose, you recognize it as a privilege, not a right."
"You can believe, for example, that a dead-end job is a career. You can blame your ugliness for keeping people at bay, when in reality you're crippled by the thought of letting another person close enough to potentially scar you even more deeply. You can tell yourself that it's safer to love someone who will never really love you back, because you can't lose someone you never had."
"But sometimes, in order to win, you have to make sacrifices."
"Having a family means you are never alone."
"If you end your story, it's a static work of art, a finite circle. But if you don't, it belongs to anyone's imagination. It stays alive forever."
Whoever thinks you can't learn much from fiction needs to read this book - the "accounts" of both an officer and a survivor from Auschwitz are told with such gut-wrenching detail that though these things did not happen word for word to these people, you realize that similar horrific treatment happened to those involved in this part of history. If you are remotely interested in learning more about the Holocaust, I encourage you to give this book a try - it is a masterpiece!
I could go on and on, but this is truly a story you need to discover for yourself...besides, I could never do it justice. Sometimes, words just can't convey exactly what you want to say...