Traumatised By A Paperback

I’ve been in a crazy reading mood of late, but no matter how many books I read, nothing has really had that ‘wow’ factor I’ve been looking for. That all changed today with a seemingly innocent book I picked up on a whim from the local library. Torn and tattered (not to mention, suspiciously stained), there was nothing about the cover that drew my attention. Indeed, not even the blurb was that fabulous. But it was the title that drew me in. It read almost poetically, really, and it jogged a memory, since the moment I saw the paperback sitting on the shelves, I remembered hearing a number of recommendations in the past from other fellow book-lovers to give it a go.

So I did.

And now…

Well, honestly? I feel like someone’s taken a cheese grater and shredded my veins. I think I’m metaphorically bleeding emotion. That’s just how gripping this book was. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting, devouring the words like they were the air I needed to breathe in order to keep on living. Sounds dramatic, right? Well, that’s nothing compared to the book itself. I’m not sure if I need a tub of ice-cream, a box of tissues, or an unending hug. Perhaps I just need all three at once. Because right now, I’m pretty much like this:

But you wanna know the funny thing? There was nothing really all that awesome about the book. Nothing even all that amazing about the writing. But somehow the author just manages to grab your attention through the beauty of her storytelling. She manages to draw you in until you’re invested in the characters. You don’t want to know what happens; you need to know. It’s almost obsessive. And it’s not just that you need to know what happens next, but the whole way through you find yourself wondering what happened in the past. Because you know something had to have happened. There are little hints the whole way through, little snippets of information that set your mind whirling on possibilities. But as soon as you think you have the answers, something changes and you realise that you still have no idea what’s going on. Add to that, there are two main characters and two different POVs being told, and I still don’t know who I feel sorry for more. All I know is that I wanted to jump into the pages and give them both a hug. But while my act of affection would have been intended to seem like this:

… I’m pretty sure it would have been received just as well as this:

Let’s face it. No one wants a hug from Voldemort. And the two main characters in this book were definitely not the kind of people who would have been overly receptive to the whole ‘healing hugs’ gig. *Shrugs* Their loss.

… Anyway…

It was also interesting because everything about the two of them was destructive. And when they finally started to become ‘better’—and I use that word extremely lightly—they were still so emotionally messed up. Even when they started caring for each other, they were practically a ticking time bomb with all the secrets of the past lingering between them (secrets that we, as readers, still didn’t know about until the very end). Their relationship was pretty much this in a nutshell:

It’s kinda a funny image… but it’s also very true. They did more damage to each other than anyone else did. It was fascinating to follow their lives and see just how inescapably messed up everything became. But there was also a certain amount of beauty in the mess. And boy, there’s nothing I love more than a beautifully redemptive story.

… And that ending! Omigosh. Those two final words stole my breath and had me beaming like an idiot. No joke—beaming. Who beams? Smile? Sure. Grin? You bet. Laughing, giggling, chuckling? No problem. But beaming? What is that? I’ll tell you what it is: it’s what I was doing after reading the absolutely perfect ending to an emotionally shredding paperback. It’s been a loooooong time since I’ve read a book with such an amazing ending. Often after the climax is over, things usually either wind down or just rush to finish. You’re either left reeling, despondent, or unsatisfied. But this ending was, as I already mentioned, perfect.

Okay, okay, I know you’re all wanting to know what book it was now, right? Well, I’m not going to tell you, sorry. Not here, anyway. And that’s for a number of reasons, most of which are that I don’t like pushing my opinions onto others. Everyone is entitled to their own likes and dislikes, and just because I think something is amazing, certainly doesn’t mean it is. (Plus, I openly admitted earlier that the writing and the story of this book wasn’t, in fact, amazing… And I feel like it’s not fair of me to name the author or the book if I can’t give it a solid five stars). If you’re dying of curiosity and really want to know so that you can read it yourself, you can either email me or PM my Facebook page. But otherwise, all I can recommend is that you just sit in silence for a moment and think about some of the beautiful books you’ve read over the course of your life and how much they’ve tugged at your heartstrings. You never know—perhaps you’ll find yourself beaming as well.

33 thoughts on “Traumatised By A Paperback

  1. Like a crazy obsessive habit ever since I was nine years old, I always flip to the back of each book I’m about to delve into…And read the last line. Then slam it shut and start my reading adventure from the beginning…Do you do something similar/whatnot? I’m just curious 😳

    • Haha, sometimes I do (shamefully) do that… But I’m so glad I didn’t with this one, because it totally would have ruined the wow-factor and the power of those final two words! Sometimes it’s better off leaving it as a surprise! 😊

    • I do something similar, in that when I’m about halfway through a book and terrified that one of my favourite characters will meet a tragic fate, I skip to the last chapter and scan through it to make sure the character survives.

    • It was emotionally evocative, that’s for sure! I wouldn’t classify it as something I’ll ever read again, but I’m really glad I picked it up! (And if you read it, it’ll be you who needs the hug, lol).

  2. Some books just have a way of ripping your heart out and stomping on them. Sometimes, it’s just where you are at that point and time (emotionally, physically). I’ve read books that touched me in ways that I can never explain, and then a few years later gone to re-read it, and wondered why I liked it so much.

  3. Reblogged this on Joe's Geek Fest and commented:
    So here’s a brilliant post a beyond a book review (indeed the book is never mentioned) – it’s more paean to our relationship with books and their characters. It’s not just some arm-length love of books our our whole investment in them as we read.

    I read something like this and question why I even both posting – well done.

  4. There are a few books that have left me sitting in complete awe.. largely because of the beauty of the language within the book, and the characters that I just want to know more about. Shadow of the Wind, but Carlos Ruiz Zafon is the first that comes to mind (the whole concept of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books kind of does me in as well).

  5. It’s the book of course, but it’s also were you are and when you are, isn’t it? Sometimes I go back, a few years later, to re-read a book that I loved, and think, “What was that all about?” I think all the stars have to be lined up for me just to get it like this. Thanks for a wonderful tribute to reading!

  6. I just want to let you know this post made my day. I know exactly that feeling you got from the book and it is something I havent experienced in a long time. This reminds me of first experiencing Harry Potter when the first box set was given to me as a Christmas gift. Reading the book just takes control of you and nothing else matters. What a glorious feeling that truly is. :-)

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