Fall finally arrived in the form of dark clouds, gusty winds, and pouring rain – the perfect time to stay in and do some reading (or, in my case, work).
My cat philosophy book is en route from Amazon, so I went to the library. I had plans to pick up two books which were recommended by my friend, but there were no copies available. I ended up in the “new” section and picked up a mini James Patterson book called Little Black Dress. I had never read a Patterson book before, so I thought, “Why not?”
The book was terrible! I thought that I would be able to relate to the main character, Jane Avery, who was advertised on the back cover as “spend[ding] her nights alone with Netflix and Oreos.” Had I bothered to read the first line at the library, I would NOT have taken this book home. It started with, “I spotted it on the Bergdorf sale rack.”
Despite my inability to care about the unintentionally pretentious character in the story, I finished the entire book. I kept going partly because I had nothing else to read, but mostly because I hoped the story would somehow redeem itself. I don’t like seeing people fail (especially when watching theatre), so I have a habit of sticking it through to the bitter end. I’m sure Little Black Dress isn’t representative of James Patterson’s entire body of literature, but it will be a while before I pick up another one of his works.
What I learned: If I want change, I need to let go of bad habits. When my gut tells me that something isn’t working, it’s probably a good idea to abandon ship! I can often get sentimental and attached to a thing/person/idea, but my feelings rarely have any power in altering the situation. I sure had magical thinking when I thought that hoping that the book would get better would actually make it better!
After my hour and half of cringing through Little Black Dress, I read the first few pages of Alice Hoffman’s The Red Garden on Google books. It was amazing! Here’s a short sample:
Hallie stopped. Her breathing was quick. Her choice was to go back in to the snow and die with Harry, or live beside the slumbering bear to warm their nearly frozen bodies. She chose the latter. The big bear seemed dead and even thought it snuffled. It didn’t move and its eyes were closed. Alongside were two cubs, one dead, the other alive and nursing.
I felt so engaged and alive reading The Red Garden. It was easy, enjoyable, and it immediately healed my self-inflicted wounds from Little Black Dress. I can’t wait to read the rest! Thank you for the recommendation, River!
What I learned: Sometimes it is hard to see how bad something is for me until I stop doing it. I hadn’t realized that Little Black Dress was causing me so much pain until I experienced joy when reading The Red Garden. I had truly forgotten how fun reading fiction could be!