You might know that I recently borrowed The Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller from my local library, I had been under the impression that it was the book which Peggy Ann at Peggy Ann’s Post had enjoyed, but that was a different one by the same author. So I didn’t even look at the blurb before borrowing it and when Judith (Reader in the Wilderness) commented that she had tried the book and had given up on it, I thought that I was unlikely to have the same reaction – just because I rarely give up on books – but I gave up on The Lake Shore Limited on page 56 to be precise – nine lines from the bottom of the page.
It was the words Lou Gehrig’s disease which stopped me, and I only realised a few weeks ago that that is what people in the US call Motor Neurone disease. For me that was the last straw in what was a bit of a doomfest of a book with one character mourning the loss of a brother at a young age in one of the September, 11th planes.
It reminded me of the Kate Atkinson book When Will There Be Good News – which I ploughed my way through as I really usually enjoy her books but at the end of it I could only think – what a miserable book. Why write such depressing stuff, I feel like prescribing the writers a course of anti-depressants just so that they won’t infect the rest of us with negativity.
This could well be an age thing. I imagine that as a young thing there’s a fair chance that you haven’t had the misfortune to have experienced at first hand things like the early death of siblings – or in my case three cousins who died before the age of 10. You might not have had to nurse your parents and in-laws who had diseases such as cancer, heart disease, peritonitis and MS. You probably haven’t experienced at close quarters someone with MN disease, but I have. And that was why I couldn’t read on any more. I read for entertainment and that doesn’t include horror. I feel the same way about television programmes, it has always been a mystery to me that things set in hospitals are so popular. I suppose those who watch them are not the people who have had to visit hospitals or even had the misfortune to be the person in the hospital bed. When you are the one having to give permission for a life-support machine to be switched off in reality, then you don’t wish to revisit the experience again, not even at second hand.
So I prescribed myself more from P.G. Wodehouse, and I’m feeling quite like my old self again. What ho!