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Sunday, January 08, 2006

book 3: Whistle Stop by Maritta Wolff

Wow, that book was long. Okay, it wasn't so long, but it felt long. Whistle Stop is the story of the Veeches, a big, trashy family in small-town Nowhere, USA. They fight with each other, and ignore each other, and maybe sleep with each other.

This was Maritta Wolff's first novel. It has a lot of characters. Kenny, Mary, Carl, Sam, Molly, Jen & Josette, Jud and Dorothy all live in the Veech house, and Wolff amnages to give each a distinct personality. Other characters get significant page time at one point or another, which and manages not to be that distracting. There is not much of a plot, yet the pages keep turning. Since my family is tiny (two parents, one, now no, siblings), it was interesting to read about a household that had mulitple generations in it, and the way that the children's personalities seemed to be informed by when they fell out of Molly. I know being the oldest has, in part, made me the special person I am. [Shut up]

These people also smoke and drink like there is no tomorrow. Seeing as how it is set on the brink of the US's involvement in WWII, I guess this is appropriate. The youngest Veech child, Carl, is bitter and petulant. He is also lost, and craves escape from his town and the options available there. His story creeps around behind the other childrens' and was to me, the most affecting. He turns eighteen during the summer in which Whistle Stop is set, and though it is not explicitly mentioned, his future is likely blowing his small town for Europe or Asia, becoming a "man" by killing people. Haunting.

I liked this book. I liked its subtlety especially. But, when Wolff's last book, whose manuscript was been hidden in a refrigerator untill 2002, arrived at my library branch, I gave it back. I want to read the books in between, which seem to be out of print.

On to other things.

Also, I am teething. Because of lack of good dental care in my youth, I never got my two wisdom teeth removed and they are crookedly coming in through my unwilling gums. FUCK!

2 comments:

-from charliewest, with love said...

i've been told that i do not have wisdom teeth, but i fear that they are somewhere deep inside my head, tucked near my ears maybe, waiting to come out and cause me great agony.

my condolences.

Carrie said...

I only have two. One is like a real tooth, except that it will eventually grow into my brain. Special!

The pain I feel is probably why I read three books this weekend. That and the fact that I have a short, stupid article I am avoiding writing.

Gums slowly tearing, making way for a new (though ossified) life- it totally makes both my writin ghand and my vagina jealous.