August 18, 2009

The Believers

I finished reading The Believers by Zoƫ Heller. I liked it so much I was startled and sad to have reached the end. BUT! I did not think at first that I was going to like it. I was maybe 40 or 50 pages in and I was thinking, "Oh, I see: this is a book where we demonstrate our mastery of vocabulary words and complicated sentence structures, make superior and cynical remarks about our characters that reflect badly on human nature at large and the reader in particular, and generally show the world to be a crabby and unpleasant place where people suffer unnecessarily, fail each other constantly, put up with what they shouldn't, judge each other mercilessly on every minor detail, and fail to notice their own hypocrisies and contradictions. Good, good. How many pages? 335? Huh. No, that's good. I'll just...read a People magazine for right NOW, and come back to this LATER."

I persevered because Sundry liked another book by this author, and I like to like what Sundry likes. And yay for fawning devotion, because at some point I CLICKED IN to the book, and from then on I was completely absorbed, bringing the book with me to the kids' swimming lessons even though I knew full well I wouldn't get any reading done with Henry dropping his toy and asking questions and taking off his shoes and demanding his sandals and telling me to kiss his arm and so forth, and I was reading the book in the evenings when I COULD HAVE BEEN ON THE COMPUTER, and I was laughing OUT LOUD at certain parts (Audrey: "Are you HIGH?") even though it drives me crazy when Paul does that because I know he's trying to get me to say "WHAT?"

I got to the last page this evening, and my heart fell. Somehow even with my left hand growing increasingly heavy and my right hand knowing it gripped little more than the bare cover, I hadn't realized the end was so near. I went back and re-read the last two pages, because the first time I hadn't read them Knowing They Were the Last Two Pages and I needed a do-over.

18 comments:

willikat said...

I love your book reviews. I have totally done the same thing at the end of a good book. That's when you know it's great!

marybt said...

I hate when good books end. I finished John Jakes's North and South Trilogy in June and I was like, "WHY?!?! Why couldn't he have just written ONE MORE BOOK?!?!" LOL.

d e v a n said...

Sounds like a good one! I hate it when I lol and my husband asks me why. You have to read the book is usually my answer, because anytime I try to explain he acts like I am an idiot. hee

LoriD said...

That is truly the sign of a good book. I've been know to start the book all over again immediately when I get to the end of a good one.

Hotch Potchery said...

I like to like what you like, so maybe I will try that book next!

Amanda said...

I always love a good recommendation. I'm adding it to the list and suggesting to you, The 19th Wife.

Kristin said...

This book was already literally next in my stack, so I'm really looking forward to starting it now.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Your book reviews are so fun to read! I absoutely know this feeling, I get very invested when I'm reading and when I finish a good one that I just didn't want to be done with, I just sit there for a bit with my head feeling heavy and groggy (from the intense reading I was doing up to the ending), and then I think about the characters and what's happening next, and I usually do re-read bits and pieces of the book before I can put it away and start something new.

It's a really good feeling, I love it.

Kathy said...

I do the "last two pages do-over," too! I thought I was the only one and it made me a weird-o.

I feel better about myself, now. So thanks!

Alice said...

i'm currently re-reading the golden compass trilogy (or, i guess, the His Dark Materials trilogy, WHATEVER) and i'm pretty sure that even after read #2, i'm going to want to pick up book 1 and start all over YET AGAIN.

i re-read the last pages of book 3 about 4 times in a row last time through :-)

Alice said...

(ps - thanks for your comments on my post :-) i was up until like 3am on monday night because i was just so HOT AND BOTHERED by some of the comments, so i'm glad my responses are coming off a LEETLE less fumey than i felt.)

pseudostoops said...

I TOTALLY do the re-read the last two pages thing. I tend to read too fast, and only realize I'm doing it when the book is suddenly, heart-rendingly OVER.

I got "What Was She Thinking" for vacation, and hope I like it like you liked this one!

Kim said...

I like to like what you AND Sundry like. I'm an original that way.
I've gone on downward-spiraling depressions after finishing certain books because I know it'll be awhile before I find another amazing gem and I'm always right about that.

Katy said...

That's one helluva a review. You should go re-post it on their Amazon page or something.

Jenni said...

i love it when a book is so good that i am sad it is over.

robyn said...

I felt EXACTLY the same way about 'The Elegance of the Hedgehog." So many friends raved about it, and so I started it, and within 5 pages I felt stupid and poorly educated because I didn't get most of the literary or philosophical references even though I was an English Lit major in college. But I hung in, because I kept thinking there MUST be something redeeming in there, and almost lost hope, but then I loveloveloved the last ten pages. I even cried. So I'm gonna go ahead and give YOUR book a chance, too.

Kelsey said...

That makes me think of the line in a Simon and Garfunkel song... something like "marking our place w/ book markers to measure what we've lost"

I hate when I don't realize I'm so close to the end!

HHRose said...

Two things. 1: I HATE it when my mother laughs out loud continuously when she reads. Especially when she's reading something I'm ABOUT to read. Ugh. 2: Quirky thing about me: I have to cover up the last paragraph of a book so I don't accidentally jump ahead and read the last sentence. Nerd.