I need the magic of a burning kiss (This Is Where I Leave You, 2012)

The other day, I mentioned Bush Falls/The Book of Joe (still no clue whether it’s the exact same book or not ; update: apparently the former is the UK title, which does not explain at all why such title was needed) today I think worth telling that I’ve just finished This Is Where I Leave  You, the latest Jonathan Tropper’s work.

If I had to evaluate it, I would dare to say it is one of my all-time favorites books. Yeah, right, I know the future, at least mine. But, no, I won’t evaluate it and won’t say too much about it, to avoid stating the obvious (well thought, realistic and lovable characters etc). I rather, instead, let you catch a glimpse, not spoiling anything I hope (main character mostly avoided!) :

‘I’ve got one,’ Phillip says. ‘When I was in Little League, I had trouble catching. So they put me out in right field. And in the last inning, I dropped two balls that cost us the game. Our coach was this fat guy, I forgot his name. He got all crazy and started screaming at me. He called me worthless. So Dad stepped between us and I didn’t see what he did, but next thing I know, the coach is on the ground, and Dad is stepping on his chest. And the says, “Call my son worthless again”.’

‘That’s fantastic,’ Alice says, clapping. ‘I never heard that one.’

‘This might sound twisted, but I hope, when I have a kid, that someone calls him a name, just so I can do for him what Dad did for me.’

‘That’s beautiful, Phillip,’ Mom says.

‘Yes,’ Tracy says. ‘But why not just hope that no one calls your child a name?’

Phillips looks at her. ‘Don’t do that.’

‘What?’

‘You know damn well what.’

‘I was just saying that as long as you’re being theoretical, why not aim higher?’

‘My dad stood up for me. I want to stand up for my kid.’

‘And teach him that violence is a legitimate means of conflict resolution?’

‘He’s going to have to learn it sometime.’

‘A few well-chosen words might have shamed your coach into apologizing.’

‘But if he had, I wouldn’t have had a story to remind me of how my father took care of me, and you wouldn’t have been able to suck all the joy out of it, and where would we all be then?’

Later…:

She laughs and stubs out her cigarette on a roof shingle. ‘In an alternate universe where Horry didn’t get his brains bashed in, he and I are married. Once in a blue moon I get to visit that universe.’

‘And it’s really that simple.’

‘My alternate universe, my rules.’

Way Later…:

‘I have a very nice life, with a good man,’ Wendy says. ‘I love him for who he is. Sometimes who he is isn’t enough for me, but most of the time, it is. There are women who would leave to find something better. I envy them, but I also know I’m not one of them. And how many of those women truly end up with a better man?’ She shrugs. ‘No studies have been done.’

‘And Horry?’

‘There is no HorryHorry is a fantasy. And that’s all I am to him. Time travel. We slept together as a favor to the kids we once were, not because there’s really anything besides history and some completely useless love.’

Still Later:

Paul stops walking and clears his throat. ‘I want to say something else.’

‘Yeah?’

‘What happened the other night. I said some things.’

‘We both did.’

‘Yeah, well, the point is, I’ve been pissed at you for a very long time and that didn’t do either of us any good. I wasted a lot of time being angry, time I can’t get back. And now I see you, so angry about what happened to your marriage, and I just want to tell you, at some point it doesn’t matter who was right or who was wrong. At some point, being angry is just another bad habit, like smoking, and you keep poisoning without thinking about it.’

Actually, I feel just like if I was listening to Lesley Gore, some song in beetween The Look of Love, Off And Running, and Maybe I Know – go pick one.

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