This book was the official March-April book of Our Shared Shelf (a Goodreads book club started by Emma Watson).
Emma picked it because she fell in love with the sentences of the book. I was confused because this book had little to do with feminism, and Our Shared Shelf is a feminist book club.
Although the sentences did read like poetry, the content was about an emotionally abusive relationship. In other words, easy to read, hard to digest.
Out of all the books I’ve read this year, this is probably one I would not recommend. If you can handle mature content, then maybe it’ll be worth the read since it probably won’t last more than one or two days. (I read the e-book version so I can’t tell you page counts). All in all, it was not life-changing in anyway.
According to the Goodread threads though, it helped a lot of people reflect. Since I read many books regarding mature content and self-help, this book didn’t stand out in any way. Not to mention, I have friends who go to Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous who always tell me what an unhealthy vs a healthy relationship looks like. So given my background knowledge and information, clearly this book was not intended for me as the audience. It’s also hard to judge a biography since the whole point was that she was trying to release her memories in order to heal and recover, it wasn’t necessarily to change my life or to act the way a good book acts.
I don’t regret reading the book, it’s just not one that I really cared to be engrossed in, or to talk about or to even think about after I was done. In retrospect, I didn’t really emphasized with the protagonist. She lead us into some really dark trails but failed to expose herself to the audience. She told us all the dark details of her relationships but none of the dark details of her heart (well, maybe like one or two). She completely revolved her life on this relationship that I don’t think she has an identity outside of it. Maybe that was the point of the book, to find herself. Still, she described herself in forms of relationships. She was either a mom, or an ex-wife, ex-girlfriend, student, daughter, grand-daughter. She was a mix of every person she has become attached to that I don’t think I know anything about Terese Marie Mailhot other than she has a misfortunate life when it comes to love. I know she’s been published a couple of times, but none of that seemed more important than whether or not Casey loved her back.
Anyway, here are some of my favorite quotes from this book (these quotes are more feelings inspired than thinking inspired so I will not be commenting on them. Also, I combined a few of them together since some were of similar topics) :
It’s too ugly–to speak this story. It sounds like a beggar. How could misfortune follow me so well, and why did I choose it every time?
I learned how to make a honey reduction of the ugly sentences. Still, my voice cracks.
My professor told me that the human condition was misery. I’m a river widened by misery, and the potency of my language is more than human.
Time seems measured by grief and anticipatory grief. I don’t think she even measured time.
I know the math of regret and nostalgia.
Empties are a cliché–the sound of them is so familiar.
He knew something was wrong, and that’s when I wondered if maybe falling in love looked like a crisis to an observer.
You ruined me with touch. It was a different exploitation.
He fell asleep and spun a restlessness that comes when people are waiting to die. Sometimes grief is a nothing feeling.
I learned that any power asks you to dedicate your life to its expansion.
If my security depends on a man’s words or action, I’ve lost sight of my power.
Observation is a skill. Observation isn’t easy, and the right eyes can make me feel like a deer, while the wrong ones make me feel like a monster.
I think self-esteem is a white invention to further separate one person from another. It asks people to access their values and implies people have worth. It seems like identity capitalism.
I don’t think that I am lonely. I think that I am starved and maybe ravenous for the very thing you withhold from me.
I thought unseeing would be a cruel game to play with myself. But now I am reading the dark and knowing how my feet drag on every inch–feeling monstrous and tired. I’d like to have familiarity back.
I was polite enough, and considerate enough, to hurt myself like a secret.
Romanticism requires bravery and risk. The obsessive thoughts ruined things. Good news was met with a numb feeling. The voice I heard was practical. It noted every opportunity to die and then noted how I refused to jump out of a moving car.
I was not right to want to die. I didn’t want to leave my family. I liked my mind and its potential. I knew the type of burden I was. I was like my mother.
She taught me that I didn’t own things. I really liked the idea of possession. We don’t own our mothers. We don’t own our bodies or our land–maybe I’m unsure.
I remember that motherhood is mostly bearing shame to dress my children, to feed them, and to spare them the things I wasn’t spared.
The knowledge proposes I either start each day as new and take you for your word, or I tear the walls down to illustrate my pain. I feel pregnant with burden, and I chose it. I want to take it back.
That pain didn’t burden me. Trying to forget damaged me the most.
Pain is faster than light, and I wish people would not fault me for things I can’t forget or explain.
We’ve become too symbolic and never real enough.
When a man’s hands become a ghost, there is no way to strip them from a body. Haunting, what a mother does not see.
There is some stillness, even in my history–a good secret in so much bad. It almost feels like a betrayal to have good thoughts.
Things were created by story. The words were conjurers, and ideas were our mothers.
Thunder is contrary. Thunder can intuit, and her action is the music caused by lightning. She comes because we ask, and that’s why falling apart is holy.
I felt the sticky notes of my lips pull apart from his. The right love is an adhesive. I realized that I had a singular mind with Casey. Even with my duplicity and my rambling. I felt unworthy of that kind of love and ready for it.
The rest of the year was a practice in language. Every new word became more horrific. I can say full sentences. In the shower, before I knew how to be scared or protect myself, I disappeared. Ten minutes of my life were enough to kill me. Every day I negotiate the minutes of my life, remembering that I can’t remember enough.
We tried to be explicit with each other. Some knowledge can only be a song or a symbol. Language fails you and me. Some things are too large.
My people cultivated pain. In the way that god cultivated his garden, with the foresight that he could not contain or protect the life within it. Humanity was born out of pain.
God foreordained Eve’s transgression. He didn’t see you though. You were stealthier than Eve. So stealthy, there is no text for you–until now. You were folklore and rumor, and there is a myth a man took, like the apple, but of your person.
Both of your mouths, weapons. That’s how love works for a spirit like you: a determined torture. Who could fault you? Did you come from misery?
(Featured image taken from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35840657-heart-berries)