26 April 2017

We Are Not Ourselves Book Club: Week 8


This section was one of the hardest for me I think. From Ed falling to having to bring in that man to take care of him... he's really going downhill and its hard to be a bystander to it. I think Eileen is just adapting each day to his new shortcomings. She even says herself she's just trying to get through Christmas and she's "amazed her goals have dwindled to just one". I think you must just start letting go of things that can't matter anymore... like her just getting used to sleeping in his piss-soaked bed. Thomas describes it so bleakly here:

"And he just sat there defenceless as you reached into his lap with a sponge to soak up the spillage. He didn't even try to brush you away and say he would do it himself. He just sighed and offered himself up. And the fragile, helpless look on his face, the way he didn't even try to argue that everyone made mistakes, made him seem like a whipped dog, complete with sad, soulful eyes and a desire to please." (458)

Things with Connell are VERY interesting to me. I love the idea of him proposing to this girl even though he didn't want to get married... almost just to start a new life with a new family and avoid ever going home. Eileen gets so mad at Connell for saying he can't take care of his dad but I feel like maybe he actually can't. Maybe it is too hard and too nerve-wracking and too much work despite knowing how much it helps his mom. I really don't feel like he's being a jerk this time.

He is surprisingly sweet to both his parents when he's home though from rubbing his mom's feet to cleaning up when Ed has an accident. Watching grown men take care of their dads is such a beautiful but heartbreaking thing. There's a scene in the movie The Judge where the man character also has to clean up when his dad has had an accident and it's almost like these two people who have never done anything like this their entire lives suddenly have this weird understanding. If it was a daughter and her mom it wouldn't feel uncomfortable at all. I also loved Ed giving Connell his desk after all this time.

I really feel like Eileen is going to fuck Sergei which is so weird. Thomas starts sexualizing Eileen in this section... mentioning how she "remained beautiful" all this time when I honestly don't remember her ever being described as beautiful? Then there's that weird flirtation with the cop and THEN her going on about how nice it is to have Sergei around and touching herself. There is that one scene where Ed tries to initiate sex but is obviously very disoriented so Eileen goes on top (this is so sad) but... I do feel like her and Sergei are going to have a thing... anyone else?


Soooo Eileen has joined a cult and is paying $100 a week to hear total, complete bullshit:

"At the end of the session, she didn't even feel awkward writing the check. Bethany took it with a smile and presented it to Rachelle. Eileen knew she was being played, but she was content to let it happen. It was good to have someone thinking of her, and she liked that Vywamus did so much of the talking. It was better than therapy."

Actually, now that I've reread that passage I feel like maybe this is what I need in my own life. 

I was just talking on the phone with Meg about how she didn't actually cry while reading this book and I was trying to downplay my own emotional response to it, but then I reread this passage and wanted to vomit it is so upsetting:

"'I love you,' his mother said. There was a pause. 'Can you say it back, honey?'"

It is so weird at this point to see Eileen being so vulnerable ... and I can't imagine having to ask my husband of like 20 years to tell me he loves me. It honestly even surprises me that Eileen still tells Ed she loves him, it seems a bit out of character.

One part in these sections I hope I never relate to is when Connell just gives up on taking care of his poor father. He says he can't do it because it has just become too hard, which is so honest it hurts.. After having to shower the shit off his father for what felt like hours, you can see how taking care of Ed would be both mentally and physically exhausting. I hope to God this is not the kind of person I'll become, but I'll refrain from judging Connell until I'm faced with a similar situation. I would say I would take care of Meg if something like this happened, but the reality is I would have smothered her with a pillow immediately. She would have wanted it that way.

Did anyone else find it weird when Ed and Eileen have sex? I honestly don't know how to feel about it. Pls mention in the comments. 


  1. I'm still here and still reading! I'm just finding this book so depressing and sad. The last two weeks I read the both of your comments and just thought 'yep', still sad, not much else to add.
    Last week I went to this bookstore near my place that I love because the staff add these cute tags to tons of books with their own thoughts and recommendations about them. I walked around the store and picked out any that had the words; fun, light, inspiring etc. I ended up with a sweet book about a dog (Stay by Allie Larkin – loving so far) and another fun one called Arranged which I can’t remember the author right now and haven’t started yet. Anyways, I’m getting major reading blues from this book… compounded by the two previous books I read that were also downers.

    Anyways, must forge forward! I also am finding Connells reactions to this the most interesting (I’m done with Eileen she drives me insane and I’m done trying to find moments where I sympathise with her, she’s horrible). When Connell tells her he can’t come help with his dad I totally got that. It reminded me of Manchester by the Sea… hope this isn’t a spoiler for anyone. I know that Casey Affleck’s characters situation was a bit more grave – but it’s the same concept really. Sometimes life gives you these situations where you just do not have the tools to deal with them, doesn’t matter how hard you try, you just can’t. Self-preservation turns into the only move possible, and you have to just admit you aren’t equipped to help.

    I’m interested to see how the rest of this story unfolds and what kind of life Eileen suffers as her punishment to being such a nightmare of a person.

    1. I almost don't even feel like she deserves a punishment anymore like whats happening to Ed is the worst punishment there could be...

      Also the sex thing IS WEIRD meg... I also think its weird we're suddenly sexualizing her at all and the stuff with Sergei. I don't know...

    2. I also fully agree with the Affleck comparison Manchester by the Sea was the worst/best movie I saw recently and devestating. Him saying "I just can't beat it" at the end and Connell not being able to do it... very similar!