Hey my beautifuls! How’re ya’ll today? Feeling good? Great! Cause we’re going to talk about one of the darkest, saddest novels I’ve ever read. As a reader of bookish blogs and a member of the book-loving(/obsessed) community, you’ve probably already read it. It was huge when it came out, and has continued to be sold and talked about since. But…I dunno, it’s what I felt like talking about today, so I suppose you’ll just have to suffer through.
This book is strange, sad, and bleak as fucccckkkk. There’s value here for sure. It’s insanely well done, with moments of real, genuine beauty in it, most of them wrought from Roy’s writing (which can, from time to time, veer into the overly abstract. It really is lovely though). There’s insight into the human experience, emotional depth, smart social commentary, but…it’s not exactly fun to read. This book is an exercise in emotional endurance. It’s worth it, once you get to the end, but getting there…woof. It’s not easy.
Have any of you ever seen Grave of the Fireflies? The Studio Ghibli movie? I didn’t weep quite as much while reading this as I did during that film, but afterwards I had the same sort of “life is pain, but also beautiful, but also mostly just pain” feeling when I was done. And just like that movie, I loved it, but I’m not sure I’ll go back to it again. Once is enough.
I feel like I’m waffling a little back and forth between telling you to either go out and pick this book up right away, devour it, suffer through the pain and take all the rich, meaty goodness that it has to give you, or to take that money and go and buy yourself some ice cream instead. Go for a run. Kiss someone. Eat a whole pizza and watch cartoons. Most of me says just do some or all of the last ones. But! If somehow you find yourself in the mood to get your heart broken a little (perhaps you’re wrapped in blankets, sitting by a fire, drinking hot chocolate and snuggling with a pet), this is a great book to do it with.