This blog is a tremendous step forward for me. Six years in the making, (if jotted notes in a million lost notebooks count) I toyed with the idea of creating a blog – What would I write about? And could I write about said topic…forever? It never dawned on me, until recently, that I didn’t have to write about one thing, say, bananas, every day. I could blog about fruit salad or vegetables or billboards. The possibilities were endless! Another thing, the thought of other people reading what I wrote? While it’s something I’ve dreamed about from a very young age , the very thought of it terrified me. People are mean and they’d make horrible comments if I forgot a comma, stated an unpopular opinion etc. Have you ever read the comments on any published article? But that was all blah, blah fear.
A few weeks ago, I paid a visit to Barnes & Noble aka Where-My-Savings-Account-Goes-To-Die and read the cutest children’s story, The Day the Crayons Quit. I found the author’s Twitter, perused his timeline and found a lovely review about the book. That same day, I created my Twitter account, @theonewithElyse and followed several book bloggers. My timeline was filled with tons of pictures of books, summer reading challenges, hypothetical dinners with favorite authors, and the Kindle vs. paperback debate. I purchased a few (okay, a lot) of the tweeted titles. I enjoyed reading the reviews and new reads but still had that nagging feeling of wanting an outlet with more than 140 characters at my disposal.
Last week, I found White Oleander by Janet Fitch in a friend’s home. I read nothing else for a week. (Strange for me, as I usually go back and forth between 3 and 4 titles) There’s this immense feeling of satisfaction when I finish a book, a great book, along with that ‘What am I supposed to now?!’ feeling with just a smidgeon of jealousy as to why I could not turn out a piece of beauty comparable to this.
White Oleander reminded me why I read, what makes it so special that I can shut off the TV, turn off my almost-always playing music and enter the world of the character on the page. Why do I read? I do love a well-crafted story that allows me to escape but I love identifying with a character and their relationships. No, my mother isn’t in prison, nor has she killed anyone (at least, not to my knowledge) Exploring Astrid’s growth and relationship with her mother, her fears, desire for love, resonated with me.
After reading White Oleander, I wanted to read more about children in foster care and bought Bastard Out of Carolina. Unfortunately, I have to wait for that in the mail but until then, I’ve started My Prison Without Bars, a title I found via the lovely community of writers I follow on Twitter. It’s definitely not an easy read and yet, feels appropriate among White Oleander and Bastard Out of Carolina. What began as an interest in exploring foster care has now led me to look at the complex mother/daughter relationships in these books. However daunting the task, I’d like to review the three together. Impossible? We shall see.