This past week I have spent trudging my way through my first Ann Patchett book. The characters made me so angry, that it was hard to want to spend anytime reading through their lives. When I read a book, I try and picture myself as the protagonist, and in this books case there were three (the book is divided into thirds), but I had a hard time because I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities in these characters. They just had problem after problem and either settled them wrong or didn’t settle them at all. And that left me unsettled.
But I suppose the books saving grace was the beautiful writing. Patchett has a way of taking words and horrid situations, and bringing them to a place of beauty. She had me captivated a few times, but I love this little bit on the very first page,
“Water never needed anyone’s help to come up through the ground once it was ready. There are rivers, hundreds of them, running underground all the time, and because of this a man can say he is walking on water (Patchett 1).”
The significance of water is not lost on anyone who picks up this book. Water can give life in ways of nourishment and ways of Christ, and water can also take life through lack of, or drowning. It is a subliminal topic throughout the text, and I can’t think of many other books that have that. Really unique. Her writing alone will have me pick up another of her stories.
This is a the story of Rose, her husband(s), and her daughter. Rose who is married young becomes pregnant and just leaves. She can’t come to grips with her circumstance and this life she has chosen for herself. So she just packs up her car and ditches her life and responsibilities. The repercussions that come from this one decision affect more than just Rose, her child and her husband. This is a story that vividly guides us through the ripple effect and how the world does not, in fact, revolve around you.
Wonderful writing, that intertwines characters in an uncommon way, that will leave you with dropped jaws and gasping with the hasty decisions characters are faced with. A story that comes full circle and shows just what you miss by not owning up to your responsibilities.