Well, I didn't mean to be gone for a week but there it is. My Dad came up from Florida for some business and stayed with us for a few days. It was a great visit and I didn't get much reading or computer time in.
I did watch a fantastic film last week, The Inheritance, based on the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. I didn't read the book first, though I proably should have. The movie was wonderful, absorbing, touching and beautifully filmed. It certainly fed my recent interest in books set in India and I particularly enjoyed the scenes filmed there. I have found myself trying to understand the 'class' system in India. I suppose, in the way that I understand the one here in the US. I know what poverty here looks like, the various interpretations of 'the middle class' and of course the wealthy. I want to know what that looks like in India - what defines a middle class household - education? jobs? conncections? background? - and what is their place in society. Does that sound strange? I've just always had this desire to know how people live, how they really live. I suppose that is one reason I love books so much, because I can be transported.
After my last read, I thought I could use something more upbeat so I decided to reread The Bell Jar, the autobiographical novel by Sylvia Plath. I'm kidding. My bookclub will be discussing this on Thursday. The Bell Jar is such a moving and frightening portrayal of mental illness. At the beginning, it seems a typical young woman's coming-of-age story about Esther Greenwood. But it is soon apparent that everything is not as it should be. I think this book is important because the layreader - that is to say one who experiences everyday ups and downs really gets a picture of what real depression looks like. How debilitating it is, and how its sufferers are held in its grasp, seemingly helpless. As much of a stigma mental illness has now, it's hard to imagine what that would have been like in the 1950s. Certainly frightening, considering the drugs used, and electroconvulsive shock therapy. I couldn't help thinking of poor Rose Kennedy, given a lobotomy and sentenced to a life as an invalid. The life of a young woman, exhibiting unstable behavior who doesn't respond to some of these extreme therapies is horrifying. Fortunately for Plath, she survived this early bout with depression, but her recovery was not a permanent one as we know.
I'm feeling kind of lousy today, you know, when your child gets sick and you get it from them only it's 10 times worse? It's that sort of illness...no sympathy desired, just an explanation for my activities for the rest of the day. I'm going to try watching The Jane Austen Bookclub - have had it from Netflix for weeks now. I'd like to read today too, if my cloudy mind allows. I finished another book last night (review to come) and for the first time in a while am not in the middle of anything. I feel like returning to India so perhaps that will be.