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Love in the Time of Cholera: why it's a bad title

I admit that "Love in the time of ..." is a great title, so far. You're reading along, you're happy, it's about love, I like the way the word time comes in there, something nice in the association of loveand time, like a new word almost, lovetime: nice, nice feeling. Suddenly, the morbid Cholera appears. I was happy till then. "Love in the Time of the Oozing Sores and Pustules" is probably an earlier, rejected title of this book, written in a rat-infested tree house on an old Smith-Corona. This writer, whoever he is, could have used a couple of weeks in Pacific Daylight Time.

― Steve Martin, Pure Drivel

If that excerpt from Steve Martin's book Pure Drivel hit a funny bone of yours then this book is for you. Pure Drivel is a compilation of pieces written for the New Yorker, 1998. I personally relish humorous write-ups. Steve Martin is brilliant not only as a comedian but also as a writer. You can read it in one sitting or read one or two articles at a time when you get pretty bored or gloomy. Steve Martin is amusing man and this book is hilarious especially the first half. If you want a not-so-serious, something light and funny book then I suggest Pure Drivel. My favorites are 'Writing Is Easy!' and 'How I Joined Mensa'. I am a Filipino but not wily but I found his piece 'In Search of the Wily Filipino' freaking hilarious. This is a pure fun certainly. It gives utter good vibes that intend to make us laugh.

One can be deceived by this book reading its cover and letter from this Joyce Reardon, Ph. D. which tells that this is a genuine diary of an aristocratic woman named Ellen Rimabauer, wife of a business tycoon on early 1900s John Rimbauer. The book presents itself as a nonfiction, horrific and filled with paranormal phenomena based on true events and I had no idea it is all hoax. Very much interested, I read its first few pages at midnight and realized it is a terrible mistake reading it alone on your bed, sun is out, darkness is overwhelming, silence is dreadful. The problem with me is spooky stories can't get easily be dislodged from my mind like a sticky, clinging, vicious gum.

Indeed I was fooled by this misleading book. Dr. Joyce Reardon isn't actually a doctor and his real name is Ripley Pearson, a writer who wrote the fake diary. Rose Red doesn't exist. [The novel's genesis came as part of a $200,000 promotional marketing campaign for Stephen King's Rose Red television miniseries. Marketing of the film presented the movie as based on actual events.] My fascination for the book declined after knowing that everything is fraud but I still didn't read it during the night just the same.

Frustrated after discovering the truth, I obligingly flipped the remaining pages. Ellen Rimbauer is a kind of person I would not like to be a friend, neither just a seatmate for an hour. Odd, eccentric woman with lesbian tendencies. Her diary implies that her relationship with her African female maid Sukeena is beyond friendship but disturbingly sickeningly involves lust and sex. Her diary is horrendous, eerie and likely to haunt you when you're done with it. I did enjoy the book despite that the kind of its narration is not my preference and my frustration after I figured out that I was deceived that the diary is unfeigned. I also checked out the link the author gives as Joyce Reardon states that some parts of Ellen Rimbauer's diary are omitted to protect the integrity of Mrs. Rimbauer but the complete diary entries could be seen on that website. Of course, there is nothing of significance could be checked there but broken links that would lead you to no where.

Still I did like that Rose Red is after all a fictional mansion and everything didn't exist altogether because it is exceedingly disturbing and alarming to imagine it happened. And nobody will ever want to expose her personal diary in public for exploitation and sheer entertainment. Ellen Rimbauer and her husband John Rimbauer are all fictional characters with wild and evil rumination and if her diary was happened to be a genuine one it would really can cause shame and disgrace on herself and on her family and thus who would allow it? It is a fun read though.

Seventeen-year old Holden Caulfield is the protagonist, gets kicked out of Pencey Prep because he flunked most of his subject excluding English. Holden comes from a well off family in New York. His father is a lawyer. His brother D.B. is a writer who works in Hollywood. The novel is written in first person point of view, (Holden's). He leaves his boarding house and wanders off depressed, confused and angsty, drinking alcohol and intensive smoking and even hiring a hooker but does nothing. He recalls a lot of different people he knows and mostly considers them 'crumby' and 'phonies' or superficial. He hates school and people but he adores kids. He has a little sister Phoebe whom he visits and borrows her Christmas dough. He says that what he really wants to do in life is to be the catcher in the rye quoting a line from a poem 'Coming Through the Rye' by Robert Burns, 'when a body meets body coming through the rye'. He says he wants to catch little children who play in the huge field of rye and will happen to come close to falling into a cliff. In the end chapter he seems that he ended up in the psychiatric ward and has undergone psychoanalysis.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger has sold millions of copies since 1950s, is a classic and very controversial novel. It is translated in world's major languages and had been banned many times due to foul words/excessive cursing, sex, alcohol abuse and prostitution. It could have been made into film but J.D. Salinger didn't allow it till he died at the age of 91 two years ago, 2011.

I read the Jerome David Salinger's Catcher in the Rye as a teenager, roughly fifteen years young. I can't remember who owned that book but now after eight years someone gave me a brand new copy of it as a Christmas present. Reading it again is like reminiscing my younger pubescent self I didn't outgrow wholly. And unlike Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower which I can't hide my loathing (a bit), The Catcher in the Rye is a coming of age novel that became close to my heart. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a rip-off of the latter. Stephen Chbosky admits that The Catcher in the Rye influenced him a lot.

Visit TBP page here.
I like Holden's sarcasm. “I can be quite sarcastic when I'm in the mood.” says Holden. If you weren't interested in Holden neither could understand his struggle, the novel would be no entertainment for you because it has no climatic plot nor suspenseful series of events. The novel is not about the plot; it is Holden attempting to speak to you. Few loathe him because he whines and cusses too much. He despises his life, is suicidal, cynical and sarcastic. He claims that everyone is a phony but he's a liar himself. He certainly is but I can't bring myself to abhor him because I have related to him at some point. Despite his aforesaid traits, he really makes sense. Holden hits closer to home. He is an epitome of adolescence rebellion, depression and angst. I sometimes think he was my male teenage counterpart, only I didn't end up at mental institution. He is depressed yet smart badass. I've found myself agreeing with him as I've read along. “What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though.” says Holden. How I wished I could phone old Salinger and be my terrific buddy. That would kill me.

He indeed is sarcastic in amusing sort of way. Holden having sent to psychiatric ward frustrates me somehow because I've thought he doesn't need to. All I thought he needs is to grow up some more and eventually contemplate some more stuff. Though Salinger himself had been sent to hospital for having a nervous breakdown. Writers are interesting people as well as their novels. Most of the time, their novels speak for themselves.

Some quotes from the novel stand out for me:

“If you sat around there long enough and heard all the phonies applauding and all, you got to hate everybody in the world, I swear you did.”

“I am always saying "Glad to've met you" to somebody I'm not at all glad I met. If you want to stay alive, you have to say that stuff, though.”

“Mothers are all slightly insane.”

“And I have one of those very loud, stupid laughs. I mean if I ever sat behind myself in a movie or something, I'd probably lean over and tell myself to please shut up.”

“Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry.”

“I mean most girls are so dumb and all. After you neck them for a while, you can really watch them losing their brains. You take a girl when she really gets passionate, she just hasn’t any brains.”

“You never saw so many phonies in all your life, everybody smoking their ears off and talking about the play so that everybody could hear and know how sharp they were.”

“People always clap for the wrong things.”

“I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. I mean I’ve left schools and places I didn’t even know I was leaving them. I hate that. I don’t care if it’s a sad good-by or a bad good-by, but when I leave a place I like to know I’m leaving it. If you don’t, you feel even worse.”

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