the mirrored room

i’m currently in love with Look at Me by Jennifer Egan. It’s this wonderful, beautiful, imperfect book that i can’t seem to put down. i’m giving up sleep to read just a few more pages.

today, at work, ella asked me what the book was about.

i hate that question. what’s it about? it’s so hard to say. it’s about charlotte the elder a model who gets into a car accident and has 80 titanium screws holding her face together. it’s about charlotte the younger whose just waiting for something to happen. it’s about moose living with an intelligence that seems to be slowly driving him mad. it’s about z a mysterious stranger who plays a role in both the charlottes lives.

it’s about beauty and image and perception. it’s about time you start reading it.

this book is everything i’ve been looking for lately. it’s everything i wanted “stick figure: a diary of my former self” and “smart vs. pretty” to be.

i’m not quite finished yet, still have about 100 pages to go. i am wondering what egan is trying to do. i wonder if her odd choice of words is something planned and if so why.

she uses words like desultory, egregious and abraded. not that these words are too unusual, but unusual enough that you realize she uses the same word twice on the same page. i am catching it all over the place and i can’t figure out why. or maybe she just has crushes on these words and is trying to fit them in where she can.

finally, i think i love this book most of all because it deal so honestly with beauty, how it’s used and what it means to us. it blows me away.

at one point charlotte the younger’s father says to and about her:

“I’m concerned about your getting into a decent college and having the opportunity to make something of your life!” Because looking like you do, he thought helplessly, the world isn’t going to cut you many breaks.

and i think this passage hits me so hard because it’s what i have always feared to be true. i’ve tried to talk about it, talk to women like me who aren’t beautiful and how our lives are different, but people always hush me, chastised me for having low self-esteem or what not.

as if.

i know i am not a beautiful woman. sometimes that knowledge breaks my heart and sometimes it’s a comfort knowing that i have to be something more, do something more and cannot rely on my looks to get by.

but to see it so openly discussed in a book is so damn refreshing. judging people based on looks is shallow and lame and the way of the world. we all do it and this character, harris, he realizes it and doesn’t shy away from it.

for that reason alone, i could love this book.

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