by thea marie
A journal of items that I am reading/ have read: a personal commitment for 2008
|Here Kitty Kitty
A novel byJardine Libaire
Little, Brown and Company
New York, Boston
This was one of my dollar store acquisitions, and it was another with which I was pleasantly surprised.
The book is fiction and written in first person. It chronicles a young woman's difficult and, at times, shameful journey from near fatal self-destruction and isolation, through self-discovery and self-actualization, to facing her demons and taking control of her life. In the end, she places the responsibility for her survival squarely in the hands it should be, her own.
Set in New York, the story is told by Lee, an irresponsible would-be artist attempting to cope, in various negative ways, after her mother's death. We learn of her life in short segments, or "jerks" as Ma Joad called a woman's journey in the Grapes of Wrath.
Each brief segment is a snapshot of Lee's existence, where Libaire creates images so vivid and precise that I was in them, looking on, feeling the cold, smelling vomit, sweat, and reviling the filth and disorder of her life. I was appalled by the lines of cocaine casually arranged on the coffee tables and counters like after-dinner mints. I heard them being snorted, and I watched bodies liquefy into the back of the couch, the eyes glazed and jaws slack. I tasted the alcohol being consumed, the bitter pills being dropped, and suffered the dizzying, sickening after effects.
As I consider myself a strong, sensible woman on most fronts, I was disgusted by what I first perceived to be Lee's irresponsibility, her weakness of character, and her willingness to use and depend upon others, her friends, but most especially men. I was glad when she finally hit bottom and to see that she realized she had. I was right there for her, cheering her on, when she began pulling herself back up.
In the end, I was a little disappointed that things didn't work out as I thought they would, but then that would have been a sort of failure for Lee, too. A cop-out. I had to be happy that she was finally who she should have been all along and that she was satisfied with herself.
Like most good books I read, I was left wondering what would happen to her, what would she do with her art, the rest of her life, etc., etc.
I most enjoyed Libaires skillful use of imagery and the manner in which she moved the story along in short segments rather than long, tedious chapters. That is definitely a skill I need to hone in my fiction writing.
Another enjoyable read.