The memoir seemed like a really good idea when I ordered it on Amazon a couple weeks ago. Although I don't often read non-fiction, this was the memoir of a blogger whose words I read from time to time, and I know from her blog that she has a really compelling story. I know that her story is heartbreaking. Immensely so. But while it is sad, I have read her blog, so I also know that she came out on the other side of it a thoughtful, compassionate woman and a truly gifted writer.
I was really, really interested in reading her book, so I decided to break my longstanding rule to never read anything that isn't happy and uplifting.
It came in the mail last Thursday, and I was already in the middle of some other books that I carried over into the weekend, so I didn't get a chance to start it. By last night, I had finished the other books, and this morning I scanned my "to-read" bookshelf, searching for the stories I would read this week. My eyes landed on the memoir, and on a book of Nora Roberts short stories, sitting right next to each other. Unable to make up my mind, I grabbed both and headed out the door.
As soon as I got to the train platform I opened my bag and grabbed the memoir even thought somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain a voice was shouting, "ROMANCE NOVEL."
As I knew it would be, the memoir was written in gorgeous prose, despite the less than uplifting subject matter. Her words and her story transfixed me, and before I knew it I was turning pages like a woman possessed, eager to get to the next chapter, the next scene, her next journey.
When the conductor pulled on the brakes as we arrived at Grand Central, I was startled out of my trance, surprised that we were already in the city. I had read nearly sixty pages without ever looking up.
I waited in my seat until the train was mostly empty, then gathered my things and slowly made my way off the platform, dogged by a vague melancholy that is extremely unlike me and trying to ignore the now-bitchy voice in my head saying "I told you so."
Monday mornings - really any morning - and heavy, mostly sad memoirs are like Diet Coke and Mentos in my world. Put them together and you are bound to end up with a hostile and unsettling reaction. Only instead of lasting only a second or two, I feel it all day long.
I knew better. I have no one to blame but myself.
If I'm going to read a book that is certain to be sad - and I rarely ever do - I need to read it sitting outside in the sunshine. I need to read it slowly, in small doses. I certainly need to look up from time to time to pull myself out of the sad. Devouring almost half the book on Monday morning while sitting on a train hurtling through dark tunnels on the way to work is a bad idea. Even a book as beautifully written as this one.
I'll finish the memoir at some point, but I learned my lesson this morning. No more heavy reading on the train.
This afternoon, it's the romance for me.