The other day, I was happily reading a wonderful book about a very odd young woman and found myself. I mean the author could have plagiarized my exact words, only she didn’t because we live thousands of miles apart and we’ve never met. If a good friend of mine were to read this book, they would probably stop and say, “This sounds exactly like something Michelle would say.” I’ll tell you, it stopped me in my tracks.
Maybe this happens all the time, I’m not sure, but why this stuck with me is that the main character is so odd. Like really odd. Something-is-going-on odd. And there I was. Hmm. I googled the author to see if she thinks like me too. Nope. Turns out, it’s all her imagination. Her thinking about what an odd, dysfunctional, delusional woman would think. Wow.
Now, if this had happened 20 years ago, I might have added it to the baggage that I carried with me wherever I went. That baggage that I kept to assure myself that I was weird. You know, those gems that we hang onto; the words, actions, thoughts that prove that we don’t fit in?
Luckily for me, I threw that bag in the incinerator years ago, so when I read those words, I couldn’t wait to tell someone so we could have a good laugh. And let me tell you, I have laughed about this frequently since. I’ve laughed enough that I felt the need to write it down.
Truth be told, we all have our idiosyncrasies. We are all on the odd scale in one way or another. Some of us may hide it better than others, but we are all there. Believe me. And I prefer the word unique. We are all unique in our own ways and isn’t that wonderful. I think that fact alone is worthy of some joy.
Since I know of at least one friend who will ask me what it was that I read, here it is. The book is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. It’s a fabulous book that’s worth the read.
This is the excerpt:
“The only criterion I have is that the books must look clean, which means that I have to disregard a lot of potential reading material in the charity shop. I don’t use the library for the same reason, although obviously in principle and reality, libraries are life-enhancing palaces of wonder. It’s not you, libraries, it’s me, as the popular saying goes. The thought of books passing through so many unwashed hands—people reading them in the bath, letting their dogs sit on them, picking their nose and wiping the results on the pages. People eating cheesy crisps and then reading a few chapters without washing their hands first. I just can’t.”
Yup, that’s me. I can’t look at a library book without thinking of someone I don’t know sitting on the toilet, happily reading away. Nope nope nope…can’t do it.
I was talking to a couple of friends the other day about my library book issues, and one concluded, “After all, you’ve never heard of people getting sick from a library book”. I replied “But do we really know this? Maybe all these years that people have been thinking that they have the flu, maybe it’s something they caught from a library book”. Then we all had a good laugh. As if…
No, really. Michelle Freemark is completely fine.