29 March 2017

We Are Not Ourselves Book Club: Week 4


This was a short section! Beginning to think we should have combined some...

I think the first few chapters from Connell's perspective were pretty sad. I hate the man he's becoming. It's clear he was only talking to Rod because he thought other people might think he was cool. I do find Rod's character so pathetically funny though. We all know a Rod don't we? I love the track coach thinking he'll be a hurdler and Connell just knowing he doesn't have the agility to get over a hurdle.

I loved the passages where Ed makes Connell pretend he's a Mets pitcher and I have a funny feeling that's what he secretly used to do all those times he retreated with his headphones on... just imagined himself in a powerful situation to escape being emasculated by his wife. I also died at Ed deciding they all could only eat 1 meal per day. That's something I tell myself during extreme dieting points but I can barely usually make it to 10am...

One of my favourite lines so far was in this section when Eileen and Ed are driving home from their friends and he falls asleep... "he was oblivious to the danger he was in every time she let her mind wander." HOW TRUE IS THIS? Boys have no idea but leave us alone with our thoughts for 5 fucking seconds and we can convince ourselves of anything. I can convince myself my boyfriend is in fact not a driller but a Columbian coke mule if I really relax for ten minutes or haven't heard from him for too long. I realize I'm insane but what a great line...

The passages about Eileen going absolutely fucking mental and deciding to re-furnish the house and hire a decorator on credit cards actually made me feel like I was having an allergic reaction. She is going absolutely so irrational to put their family in jeopardy like this and you just KNOW it's foreshadowing when she goes on and on about how they'll get raises and pay it back. I'm positive we're about to find out Ed has dementia or something and they'll lose their house and this book is about to take a real downward spiral. I'm almost scared to keep reading.


I am starting to get officially bummed out by this book. I hate the way Connell is acting with some of his friends, but I guess maybe this is semi-normal for guys in their early teens? I felt especially sad with how he treated his friend Rod:

"[...] Rod didn't help his cause by walking around with an innocent, vulnerable look on his face. That was the kind of look that made people nervous, made them want to do something to make it go away."

A scene I really liked though (and that lifted my spirits) was when Ed tried to get Connell to imagine himself being inducted into the baseball hall of fame. I loved how at first Connell thought it was so stupid, but then almost started to believe it himself. I also just really like how Ed and Connell share such a love for baseball with each other. As a newly devoted local sports fan (proud supporter of the Saint John Riptide in the National Basketball League of Canada) this is something I can finally relate to.

OK, I found that while Ed has been acting really strange now for a while, it is not until the end of Chapter 39 where it starts to look like he might actually be exhibiting symptoms of something. That maybe he isn’t just being a weirdo, but this is something more serious. 

This is where I start to wonder how I would act if I was Eileen … like whether I would suspect something deeper is going on with Ed and would be more sympathetic. I hated that rude, passive aggressive note she left for Ed ("Please don't forget to get Connell a new baseball glove. I've asked you three times now. I'd take care of it, but I don't know the first thing about them. It seems like the king of thing a father should pick out. That is still you, right, a father?) I really hope I wouldn't’ be as mean, but who knows after being married to someone for that many years. 

And then FINALLY they mention that there might actually be something medically wrong with Ed’s brain: "Maybe it was a tumour. Maybe it was a glandular problem, a dietary deficinecy, a failing organ.) Chapter 42 is also where they start testing for Alzheimer’s disease. I took a psychology course on dementia when I was in my undergrad and I remember them saying how difficult it is to test patients for dementia. The tests can be pretty patronizing (sign your name, who is the president, can you remember these three words) and the patients often try to avoid giving their real answers. They may lie, or say “this is ridiculous” and avoid answering because they feel embarrassed. I would imagine this would be even more difficult to endure when you may have early-onset Alzehiemer’s.

I’ll end this week’s summary with another thing Eileen did that infuriated me. I HATE when she goes out and buys that ridiculous mink coat … she is crippling them with debt for all of her “lavish” purchases and then just admits she is getting the coat because Ed isn’t mentally sound enough to tell her “no” anymore… I cannot stand Eileen .. and then as usual, she is unhappy with her purchase .. it isn’t the right season, she isn’t the right age, they’ve gone out of style because of PETA, etc. UUUUGH 

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