It's very quiet this evening. Shelly left late this afternoon so for the first time in two weeks, I'm catching up on the long list of blogs I like to read. (Some of you write way too much, btw!) Doug is snoozing peacefully in his chair with Harry Potter open in his lap and ESPN muted on the T.V. I'd almost forgotten what teenager-less life is like! Definitely less exciting but much quieter! (We miss you already Shelly!)
Sam is still wide awake due to an ill-gotten nap this afternoon and is staying busy by pulling out baby wipes and playing with Maxwell's toys. (He saunters out every 20 minutes or so to confess his misdeeds and be swiftly ushered back to bed by half-asleep dad in chair.)
For my part, I've had 5 or so ideas for blog posts I want to write swirling around in my head for the past few days and just can't figure out which one to start with.
I still haven't blogged our Palmyra trip, or the picture of our taped-shut (by Max with Scotch tape) fridge, but I think I'll delay those a little longer and go right for the drama:
I may or may not have offended half of my ward this last Sunday.
Doug and I were asked to speak. The topic was "Avoiding deception in the last days". When I learned the topic, nothing really leaped to mind. I had no immediate ideas or thoughts about what I could say.
After about a week of intermittent pondering, I had an idea. I could talk about the book I just finished! It was all I could come up with so I just went with it. I stood up and publicly blasted, by name, a book that is on the NY Times bestsellers list and may or may not be loved by half the congregation. And I'm about to do it again, just in case there was someone who ditched church who's favorite book this is, and can therefore join the ranks of "me haters."
SPOILER ALERT! If you want to read The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards, you should keep reading, let me spoil the ending for you, and save yourself some time. Furthermore, if you absolutely loved this book and recommended it to all your friends, please tell me why, exactly, so I can feel a little better about the lost hours of my life.
My first hint as to the merit of this book came right on the cover. An endorsement from Sue Monk Kidd. (Who, as you may remember, after writing "The Bloody Mermaid Chair", has earned a swift virtual kick in the pants and eternal raspberry from myself.) ANYWAY,
The Memory Keepers Daughter starts with a very interesting premise. A (bone) doctor drives his in-labour wife to the hospital where he is forced to perform the delivery of not just one, but TWO babies. A perfect little boy and a Downs-syndrome girl. He looks at his baby daughter and sees nothing but pain and suffering for his family in the future. He gives the baby girl, Phoebe, to a nurse (who's in love with him) and tells her to take Phoebe to an institution.
Now, strip away the interesting premise and good writing and here's what you're left with about 170 pages in:
*A Doctor/Husband who gives away his baby, lies to everyone by saying the baby died, and consequently lives the rest of his life emotionally constipated because he refuses to tell the truth or do the right thing. Oh yeah, and then dies suddenly--and unsatisfactorily--before resolving anything.
*A wife who gets depressed after the "death" of her daughter but then stays mad at her husband until she figures, "what the heck, may as well fall into bed with this stranger I met at the beach last night and may as well keep hating and resenting my husband and sleeping around because...well...I'm unhappy and my life hasn't been perfect. Oh yeah, and I need a full-time job and career because I get no fulfillment as a wife or mother and need to find myself." (I may have paraphrased that a bit.) (She was definitely my very least favorite.)
*A spoiled son who thinks his dad hates him and consequently starts sleeping with the high school hussy and using drugs and hating the world.
*A nurse who, although is trying to do the right thing for Phoebe, kidnaps her and claims to be her mother, refuses to let Doctor/Dad see daughter, and doesn't contact the family to fess up until the twins are in their 20's and D.D. is already dead.
At the end of the book, I was just left feeling empty. Where was the valor? Where was the character who showed real moral courage inspired by something other than guilt and fear? Who was there to cheer for? Nobody! Except maybe Phoebe who is without guile. But then, it sorta felt like she was totally secondary to the plot despite being the crux of it. (Am I using crux right?)
And thus we see how this relates to my speaking assignment. Thesis Statement: You can avoid deception in the last days by not reading so much of this tripe that you actually start to think reprehensible actions like those of the main characters in this book are normal, acceptable, or even remotely justifiable! (It's always good to start with a thesis statement.)
Okay. I think I finally have this rant out of my system. I'm going to bed early tonight! (After I read a few more blogs...)