“The Skies Belong to Us” #4

Sometimes I talk to myself, sometimes “talking” means arguing and Tricia and Dr. Matthew don’t get along:
Still mopey it’s over?

Yes

It’s been over a week, you know.

So.

Did you do that thing you always do? You know, that thing where you forget to check when the book actually ends and you think you have a good 15 pages left when you don’t?

Yeah

So it kind of just ended for you.  All of a sudden.

Yep.

Still pissed about Cathy Kerkow?

Yes

So, just with the one-word answers.

I hate her.

Why?

She gets away with too much.

Really?

Everyone else has to pay and she doesn’t.

Seriously?

Well, I know that’s not really the case. It’s so

Nope

I know, I know she loses things too. It’s just all too easy for her to

Wrong

Sorry. What were you saying?

It’s all too easy for her to abandon an identity once it no longer suits her. And I know, she sticks around longer than I expected, but

This is really a thing with you, isn’t it?

A thing?

Yes, a thing. You started off comparing Kerkow to Piper in “Orange is the New Black” and talking about rites of passage (in that preachy tone of yours).

Well, I was right. Except she doesn’t have to because

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

Okay, okay. Here’s the thing: why does the rite-of-passage or the process to enlightenment have to go through the lives of the disenfranchised? It’s like this is a scarf or a jacket she put on and then took off when it started itching.

But isn’t that just the unfair truth—part of being a Cathy Kerkow is that you get to move around in ways that Holder doesn’t? (and “lives of the disenfranchised?” Puhleeze!). And why does it have to be a path to anything? Or a process?

Yes, but it’s not just her or Piper (that’s a name that should be mocked all day, by the way). It’s the whole eat-pray-love of it. It’s that white woman who became a Maasai Warrior and then wrote a book called Warrior Princess! IT’S MILEY CYRUS TWERKING!!!!

Hey now, that’s just silly. You’ve known this about her all along, and I saw those moments when you felt sorry for her. You’re just pissed because Brendan likes her so much.

So much. You could practically see the little hearts on the page.

But the end as a whole, you seemed to like it.

Oh I loved it! I read it at the bar of my favorite restaurant over red wine and chocolate cake (also very hard to get right, by the way).

I know, I heard you say “I see what you did there, Koerner!” (and everyone else did too, by the way)

I couldn’t help it. I was really happy for him! He pulled off this really hard caper, an almost impossible balancing act.  I mean, really, it’s an almost flawless book.

So it’s not the writing but the point-of-view you don’t like.

It’s the politics of it, romanticizing her.

You wanted him to say “bad little white girl!” didn’t you.

Sort of.

Even though you’ve praised the book for not being preachy, for not pointing at anyone’s behavior and leaving the reader to make her own choices and connections, for being thoughtful but

Yes–for being thoughtful and dispassionate at once.  It’s hard. I know, I know.

So you want him to judge her.

NO, I don’t want him to exactly judge her. Okay, maybe just a little bit. But does he have to like her in such an obvious way? I want him to

Judge her. You want him to judge her. Actually, you want to judge her.

There’s no “want” about it. I do judge her. I know it’s maybe irrational.

Maybe irrational?

Yeah, just maybe. This isn’t like being mad at Frankenstein or Darcy. They’re not real. She is, and plus I’m not wrong, you know. She’s a type a very specific type.

Isn’t Holder?

No, he’s a product, a compilation of tragedy, and the “tragedy” is not ennui and restlessness.Terrible, awful things happen to him, and this meant something to him. It wasn’t a lark. Yes, it was deluded, but

Funny, you have all this wrath for Kerkow but none for the hijackers who put so many people in harm’s way. She didn’t actually DO anything you know? And where is Holder’s agency in all this? (God, now you have me doing it…”agency” gag)? Lots of black men went to Vietnam and faced horrible racism and didn’t hijack a frickin’ plane.

Wait, do you hate Holder? Because that’s not okay. We like him. You don’t get not to like Holder (and what’s with the “frickin’?” your mom stopped reading this blog a long time ago). The thing is Koerner makes her this heroine. She’s not just a subject like the other people in the book but the alluring muse he imagines at the moment in the novel when I want him to

What? What do you want him to do? (and, it’s not a novel, Patricia)

Well, I’m not sure.

Have you ever, ever liked any ending of any novel written after 1845? Ever?

Right now, aren’t you already looking suspiciously at Americanah? And 1Q84

Listen, that book is a million pages.  I’m going to throw a party when I finish it. (and didn’t you just say Skies is not a novel?)

But don’t you usually use words like “flat” or “excessive” or “self-indulgent” to describe the end of perfectly good books? You have issues and can’t let go, can you, crazy-reader lady? Don’t you? Don’t you?

I’m waiting.

Still waiting

First, I’m not crazy.  Second, I can do two things at once. I can hate all endings like an irrational reader and still be legitimately pissed about how Cathy ends up. In fact, I think it’s a sign of

Oh shut up. Go see what Dominique thinks. She’ll know.

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