Wednesday, June 16, 2010

You'll Like it When You're Older

Earlier this week, I finally finished reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which I ultimately liked but had a really hard time getting into for various reasons. One really big part of the book I found completely unbelievable and downright ludicrous, but hey, whatever. I've never been to Sweden, but if a chick who wears all black and has a lot of tattoos is still totally outrageous and out of the norm there, I suggest they take a little trip to Chicago and have a burger at Kuma's Corner. But I digress. It's an interesting story, and I can't say I'm opposed to the idea of Daniel Craig starring as Mikael Blomkvist, cause then and only then would that character's sexual appeal make sense to me.

Anyway. This was going somewhere originally, I think. Yes. Yesterday, after finishing that book, I decided it was finally time to tackle something I've been putting off since I was 17-years-old.

I'm reading Great Expectations.

Big deal, you scoff. Shouldn't you have read that in high school? Well, yeah. It just so happens that Great Expectations is the one book I never actually completely read in school. (As I am a huge, huge geek, this was a very big deal for me.) God, I hated it. I wanted nothing to do with Pip and Estella and Miss Havisham and whoever-the-hell convict Dickens was writing about. I just didn't care.

While we were supposed to be discussing Great Expectations in Mrs. Lester's 11th grade AP English class, I stared blankly at my paperback and doodled in my notebook, avoiding eye contact with Lester so she wouldn't know my guilty secret. Later, after school, I whined to my mom about how much I hated it.

"I didn't like it when I was in high school either," she said, over and over again. "But I promise, you'll like it when you're older. I love it now."

You'll like it when you're older, huh. Turns out, this statement often annoyingly turns out to be true. Like when I was about 10, and announced to my big brother Tom that I would never date boys or wear makeup. He laughed and told me to get back to him on that when I was 16.

Well, I'm older now, and have been for awhile. But ever since my mom matter-of-factly told me I'd like it when I was older, I've harbored this secret fear that maybe in this instance, I wouldn't. Each summer, my brother Jay reads a Dickens book (light summer reading for our resident genius, ha, ha) and I'm reminded of what my mom told me.

What if I didn't? I had to like this book. I couldn't let her down. So much pressure.

But yesterday as I stood in front of those bookshelves and stared at the row of Charles Dickens' books, I thought, who gives a shit if I don't like it?

My mom never agreed with the fact that when I don't like a book, I quit reading it, and I never agreed with her diligently pushing through and finishing a book she couldn't stand.

"What's the point?" I always asked her.

She didn't have a matter-of-fact answer for that one, but she held firm to her ground that she couldn't stand to start a book and not finish it.

So there it is. I've always known that this is one book that even if I don't like it now that I'm older, I'm still going to finish it this time. I owe it to my English teacher mother.

Yesterday I read the first 82 pages in one sitting. I liked it.

Mom, we're off to a good start.

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