A fractured man and his fractured sister–that’s the central storyline in TK. Eddy and Em share a bad history. How bad? You’ll have to read the book to find out. That history has left them psychologically “fractured”–defensive, paranoid, sensitive, yearning and extremely dependent upon one another. Neurotic and maybe borderline psychotic. A prof once told me the difference: The neurotic person builds a dream castle in the sky, and the psychotic person lives in one. I always appreciated that explanation. Maybe Eddy and Em just rent one from time to time.
I just completed reading Trout Kill. What strikes me in reading the above post is how the use of the word “bad” in describing Em and Eddy’s history makes me feel so uncomfortable. I am still conversing with myself as to why. Every page I read I found myself highlighting, underlining or dog earing the page to give myself a reminder I want to give it more thought and attention when I read the book again.
This is the first book I have read where I felt a need to take breaks from reading. At times I felt I needed a straight shot, a mason jar glass of wine, and a box of Kleenex.
As soon as I had hit the submit comment I realized why the word “bad” made me uncomfortable. It feels as though the word “bad” minimalizes Em and Eddy’s history.
Had I given more thought to my use of the phrase “bad history” (ill-chosen diction, perhaps), I might have used “traumatic” instead of “bad”, as in events (especially during childhood) which are extremely frightening, shocking and/or distressing and sometimes having long-term psychological effects. I’m not sure why “bad” makes you feel uncomfortable, but I can easily understand how the story might. I’m eager to discuss the book with you in person, and hope we can do so soon.
Oops … I just read your post about how you feel “bad” minimizes Eddy’s and Em’s history. I think you’re right. It does, but I certainly did not mean to do so intentionally. I am not suggesting their histories should be diminished or disparaged. As we all do, they struggle to understand what happened in their past, and that struggle is heroic, I think. They do not submit to history. Over the course of the trilogy, they try to defeat it.
I got so caught up thinking about the book and the impact of the read that I did not mention how totally gripping the book was for me and how much I enjoyed it. It is the book that keeps on giving. I have found myself anxious to read it again. I am going to read another book then go back and read Trout Kill again. I offered to loan my copy of Trout Kill to someone to read and they said “no way after you have made so imprints with your highlighter.” So another book sale!
It will really nice to chat about the book with you in person. I am so anxious to discuss the book with someone else that has read it.
What a gift the book is.