Monday, September 6, 2010

page after page

With no paper deadlines or assigned reading on the daily agenda, I have finally been able to make a small dent in my amazon wish list of books. A Thousand Splendid Suns was the first book I picked up and cried my way through in about a day and a half. Brilliant. Perhaps even better than Kite Runner. If any of you have not given this book a read at this point, I highly recommend it. Hosseini offers a glimpse into the history of Afghanistan in all its glory and its heartache. This book highlights the oppression of women through a fictional, yet realistic, tale filled with gut-wrenching trauma and profound courage, strength and love.

Sticking with the theme of female oppression and realistic fiction (with a bit of history and cultural exploration), I was drawn to this Oprah's Book Club reader. The form of oppression is different, though no less tormenting, in this story of a Haitian woman. It is a difficult book to read because it explores the complexities of cultural practices that are sexually abusive and the impact upon the lives of those victimized. The perspective is cross-generational and cross-cultural and does not settle for simplified or reductionistic conclusions.

My earliest memory of Dr. Dave was when I was in the sixth grade. I had been taken to a neighbor's house after a freak snowboarding accident that resulted in a whopping 72 stitches in my knee. Dr. Dave was the first to inspect my knee to determine if I needed to be taken to the ER. My mom had dropped the four of us kids off at a sledding hill to entertain ourselves for a bit while she finished up her Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. Upon the removal of my light-washed jeans (we were barely into the nineties) I was able to see the damage done and I nearly passed out, but Dr. Dave remained calm and reassured me that everything would be alright. I just remember feeling safe in his presence.

Later on I would become a frequent babysitter of his four blonde kids, one of whom went on to become the first female football player to play in the College football league. My babysitting days were over by the time he became a regular medical commentator on the local news station. I recently learned that Dr. Dave, the safe and gentle man whose family I was once extremely fond of, had voluntarily served 2 tours of duty for the US Army...and that he had written a book about how this experienced had changed him.

This book broke my heart into many little pieces. It also restored a sense of hope in the men and women who choose to follow their hearts, face their doubts, and struggle with questions of meaning relating to our individual and collective lives. This book was eye-opening, as it offers an inside glimpse into at least one medical facility located in the grueling desert of Iraq.

I just received another pile of used books in the mail...and I can't wait to crack them open!

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