Late beginnings are beginnings nonetheless

4 Oct

I always seem to come late to good books.

Take, for example, The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, which came out in 2002. I heard wonderful things about it shortly after it came out, even bought it for a friend of mine because I knew, from all the hype and from reading the back cover, that she would love it. But did I read it? No.

The hype about the book died down and I forgot about it as it ceased to be displayed on the bestseller racks at my local bookstore.

But then, last week, when Andrew needed something to read, I talked him into purchasing The Lovely Bones under the premise that, as soon as I finished The Chronicles of Narnia, he would let me read it. And so it was. As we met each morning to walk to work, he told me how good the book was, how he had stayed up much too late reading it and then, finally, I finished with Narnia and started The Lovely Bones. The first night I started reading it, I could barely put it down, and sure enough, I too stayed up way too late promising myself after each chapter finished that I would just read a few more pages. I took it to work with me the next day and read it at every opportunity I found. I took more smoke breaks than usual just so I could step outside for a few minutes and read a few pages. Yesterday, at the hospital, I read it while I waited for Andrew to be released. And then, finally, last night I finished it.

It was amazing. Brilliant. All the things that critics said when it came out, but better. I cried. I got goose bumps. I laughed. I cringed. I have not enjoyed a book so much since I read White Oleander, which I count as one of my top three favorite books of all time, when I was in high school. Seriously, it’s that good. (But what am I saying? I’m probably the last person in the world to read it and you all probably know that duh! It’s awesome. Everyone said so five years ago, except for, you know…me.)

While reading this book, I had tears in my eyes. They didn’t fall, but they were there, along with that scratchy ache in the back of my throat that warns of tears. What made the tears fall, was the following:

“You don’t notice the dead leaving when they really choose to leave you. You’re not meant to. At most you feel them as a whisper or the wave of a whisper undulating down.”

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