Monday, October 20, 2008


A book I am reading by Ann Patchett.

Patchett's writing has shades and echoes of Rumer Godden and of Elizabeth Goudge ~ the weaving of Catholicism, of faith, into a story; the ability to help one climb inside the head of the characters, to stay there, to relate; the hook that , both painlessly and painfully at the same time, draws you in and makes you look at your own life in the light of the story, with fresh insights and possibly more self knowledge.

A living book. A book that forces you to your knees in prayer - yes, a fiction book that reaches one's soul.

Like Godden and Goudge, Patchett writes of families and people and of relationships .

Maybe I am more sensitive to these things right now . I find I want to curl up with Patchett's book yet am also a wee bit frightened by, no not frightened but perhaps wary of, the doors the writing opens in my mind. Thoughts of family and of people.

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy. ~Edward P. Morgan

A good book should leave you... slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. ~ William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958

I am slightly exhausted when reading Run. Exhausted as in tired, yes, from slack of sleep, but exhausted more from being forced to examine my roles and my soul ~ oh, gosh, am I really like that?

Homeschooling mothers spend our time with our children but do we really spend this time? Or is this time frittered away?

And what about time for husbands and for friends - do we have time to move beyond the superficial? Do we want to?

A character in Run, Sullivan, talks of why he left Boston ~

I left because my father gave up on me as soon as there were those other boys, your sons, because they took his attention and his love without any effort at all.

At first thought, I felt sympathy for Sullivan as I tried to plan , to control in my mind how a parent could find time for all his children, acknowledging and accepting their differences. But then I thought of my own family and I felt sympathy for, no, not sympathy for but empathy with, the character of Doyle, Sullivan's father.

Parenting and marriage are not easy, yet they are full of joy and also of work; and we walk this line precariously,this line between being a good parent, trying not to enjoy one child more than another, between being an attentive spouse and a good mother yet still being ourselves.

A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul. ~ Franz Kafka

As a good homeschooling mother, as a Catholic wife, woman and mother, I read and absorb and make little mental notes on my behaviour. For, if family is not my main role,my main job, what else could be?


Julie said...

This is what I most love about God, Leonie...He will always regularly bring us to places where we HAVE to be honest with ourselves...examine the depths of our hearts and think about how we are going about our buisness!

We can only take the prompting and nurture it in the light of His heart and His Will...I've heard it said that the Bible is like a mirror...when we look into it, we have no option but to really see and examine ourselves...that is...if we are willing to be honest with ourselves!

Leonie said...

Being honest with ourselves - so true and so necessary...

Greg said...

Good book then. I'm afraid I'm not reading anything that challenging to my construction of 'self' at the moment but I do know the sort of book you mean.

Leonie said...

Yea, it's often literature that shows us self...