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Book 32 Completed

June 1, 2010

I took a blogging hiatus over the long weekend. But I didn’t take a reading break — I slowly plodded through Cry, the Beloved Country…enjoying it, but not devouring it; appreciating it, and cognizant of why this book is so heavily regarded, but still wanting to cheat on this book with other books on my bookshelf. (I did cheat, actually – I gulped down Catching Fire in what felt like hours on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.)

At any rate, I don’t know what to say about Paton’s classic that hasn’t already been said in countless reviews and senior AP essays. And I’m not going to lie to you: My child hasn’t been sleeping, and there is a bathtub and a People magazine with my name on it. So, I’m going to keep this review brief so I can partake in that indulgence before the People is three months old and instead of Sarah Ferguson’s scandal and Kate Gosselin on the cover, we’ve got Lindsey Lohan dead and Octo-Mom is the new Dancing with the Stars champion.

I suppose all I can say about Cry, the Beloved Country is that this story is compelling, even if the language of the book is not. Some reviews say that this book is lyrical and poetic; I thought it was pretty simple and basic. Much of the book is told in back and forth dialogue, so it felt like I was reading a play — but interspersed are letters, essays, and descriptions of South Africa. I liked it. I did. And I found the story touching…although Book 3 (while purposeful) was slow moving and, well, I’ll say it: Really boring. I’ll give you the gist: It’s not raining. And that is symbolic. And then it rains. That is also symbolic.

Okay, okay — rabid fans of this book are going to to cringe at that over-simplification, but the People is taunting me! Taunting!! (What makes Kevin and Danielle Jonas’ marriage work — could it be extreme cuteness? IMHO Kevin is the cutest Jonas brother…and while I’m talking about Disney stars: I’m at Blockbuster yesterday buying a copy of “P.S. I Love You” for my TA Dylan (which is a SUPER long story by itself) and a heavily tattooed, pierced to high-heaven, woman in her early twenties is renting a copy of the Hannah Montana movie. It was a bit jarring.)

So, is this book going to be a favorite of  my Africa trip? Probably not. But appreciating a book and loving a book are very removed from each other. Sorry that I didn’t get all philosophical or talk about the atrocities of apartheid. I’m so brain dead right now that if I really sat down to have an apartheid conversation all of my references would be from the movie “District 9.”

Tomorrow we head to Zimbabwe. (For all of you with children, whenever I heard Zimbabwe I can ONLY hear They Might Be Giants sing it in Alphabet of Nations. Zim-bab-we.) Here, just so you can all hear that too:

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