Whew, I made it through Part 1 !! After 48 pages, I can venture to say that this book may not make it on my personal list of best books of the 20th century. I long for the reader’s list, as we could be reading Atlas Shrugged right now and looking forward to Lord of the Rings, neither of which we’ll get to read with this list.
I will go ahead and confess that I did use sparknotes.com, to Andi’s horror, in order to get a brief overview of the three main characters in this section – Buck, Stephen and Haines. There, I said it! I love sparknotes. I would look up the sparknotes on my own journal if I could to find out what I was really thinking. But in this case I tried to limit it to the quick character analysis. Once I’ve got that I can just enjoy the storyline and language in the novel.
With that being said, there are quite a few moments of wit and cleverness that I enjoyed. Here are a few of my favorite quotes, some of which I hope to use in regular conversation soon. Spoiler alert if you’re not up to Part 2 yet!
Buck, regarding Stephen “Etiquette is etiquette. He kills his mother but he can’t wear grey trousers.”
“Stephen, still trembling at his soul’s cry, heard warm running sunlight and in the air behind him friendly words”. I love the imagery of warm running sunlight.
“When I makes tea I makes tea, as old Mother Grogran said. And when I makes water I makes water”. OK, I was going to change that up and use that quote the next time I make some strong coffee, as in “I know dad, but when I makes coffee I makes coffee”. Then I read in sparknotes (WHOOPS, sorry!!) that the water is urine, and that ruined the quote’s repeat factor for me.
After Buck sings the Ballad of Joking Jesus and Haines asks Stephen if he’s heard it before, “Three times a day, after meals” Stephen replies. Love this guy!!
“Kingstown Pier”, Stephen said. Yes, a disappointed bridge”. That little piece of wit is enhanced by the fact that the school kids don’t get it.
My absolute favorite is Stephen’s unspoken list of debts that runs through his mind when Deasy says that he owes nothing and wonders if Stephen can say that, as well as Stephen’s declaration that his money holder would often be empty. I can relate!
And with that, I am off to part II, and promise to go sparknote free!