June 04, 2004

Blue Shoe

Some friends were over for dinner a few nights ago and we started talking books. I was just finishing reading Anne Lamottís Blue Shoe and described the story line to them (a womanís journey post-divorce). The man friend (it was a couple) said that he would never read it, itís "chick lit." Men donít want to hear about emotions, he said. Itís offensive. They just want to move things. Act. Rarely talk to another man about feelings. According to him, all men are naturally competitive and want to read about events, history, things, not emotions. (But telling me this, he was, after all, talking about his emotions even though he will definitely not read this book. That's decided!)

Nevertheless, it is the protagonistís problems with men (discovering what her relationship to these men means, her role in what happens) that is intriguing to me (but told definitely from a feminine perspective, that is, from the emotional aspects of the relationships with men): Mattie is having a hard time letting go of her husband (not him as a person but as a lover, a comfort), is discovering who her father really was (far different than the man she knew), developing friendships with a man, a lover, her brother (all separate people, by the way). She is also examining motherhood, her mother as she was, as she is, how her own life might have been different if her mother had been more like she is with her grandchildren, and wondering how she, Mattie, effects her daughter.

Lamottís writing is very easy to read, straightforward, direct, deceptively simple. As the novel progressed, the underlying tensions surface and a depth that was not apparent through the first half of the book reveals itself. At times the ease with which the story flows feels like it is overlooking too much, that time moves too quickly, too much is left out. At the end I did not quite understand what Mattie really felt about the man she was ďin love with,Ē how much she had really come to terms with all the men in her life and her relationships. But I did enjoy reading the book and was fascinated by the style of writing. Itís a good book.

Posted by leya at June 4, 2004 04:19 PM