Saturday, May 31, 2014

100 Books My College Students Assigned Me: Book #52 - Newtonian Greek Tragedy

Book #52, The Wolf of Wallstreet, has to share my attention with a new puppy.

New Puppy is a handful of love and trouble so I am up and down and outside and inside and cleaning this and that, carrying the book and putting it down here and there.  I love this puppy, but I don't really know her name.

The problem has a simple root, one that has grown more complex like problems and roots tend to do.

When Zack and I snuck out and rescued this puppy, Zoe was on a field trip to Georgia.

  I knew she would freak out that we picked the puppy without her, but really, this puppy was meant for us and there was no picking to do. It was her that we have been waiting for, whether we've known it or not.

So instead of telling Zoe via text "Hey! How's your trip? Got a puppy without you #donothateme"
 I text her "If we get a puppy this month, you name her; if we get the puppy next month, Zack names her." 

Zoe replies something like um, ok, thanks. smiley face and I tell myself that I've kept the balance of puppy power distributed fairly between my children.

By the middle of the next day the puppy has a name. Mia. 


Glad you like it.

I cant' stand it. Mia is Spanish for MINE and I can't walk around shouting "MIA" outside because it sounds crazy to my ear.

Mia is also the abbreviation for Miami, somewhere this puppy has never been, and Mia is Missing in Action, appropriate for the Memorial Day observance but not a great wish for a new puppy.

So I started calling her Pepper. She's spotty and spicy and just on the other side of salty.  It's the right name for her and I use it every time I give her a treat and/or watch her roll happily in the cool grass.

Book #52 is so great that I think it's probably the only book that could pull my attention from Pepper (and from my 120 summer school students, but that's another story). I wrote my dissertation on international banking and money laundering in Miami and I want to go back and revisit my documents after reading the motives and tactics used by Jordan Belfor.  I understand smart, I understand creative, but I don't understand greedy, or at least I didn't understand greedy until I read this book.

I haven't seen the movie but from what I've gotten from discussing this book with others, I get the impression the book goes into much greater detailed on where money flowed and how.  People who have watched the movie don't seem to remember Jordan's children and family facing as many medical crises in the movie as they do in the book. I'm glad the author included this part of the story because it made his character transformation more believable and likeable.

One thing that struck me throughout the book was the whole wife thing.

 I am not a jealous person, I do not wish for other people's things, I do not wish for millions of dollars.

I envied that the author had a wife, someone who stayed home, made sure the home was a gorgeous happy place, looked sexy and just was nice to him.

 I do not understand how this is a fair universe where men can expect to hire/whatever a woman to be their home-maker but women shouldn't entertain that same fairy tale.

In the end, the Duchess saves Jordan from his addiction then leaves him when his fortunes crash, moving on to another man who could take better care of her.  I can't imagine being her, I can't imagine expecting to be taken care of; she remains one of the few characters I genuinely can't connect with, perhaps because her story is told by her ex-husband, written after the divorce.

I liked this book, and I took my time reading every page so I would understand and remember the stories, I liked the author's brave honesty,

I liked the details on how preoccupied the author was with drugs, with using and getting and hiding and sharing.

 I liked his pace, I liked all of it except the part where he takes credit for ordering a boat into a storm then coldly ends the story with his own rescue watching this friend and employee, the captain, go down  with his ship.

This book could be a Newtonian Greek tragedy because it illustrates the reality that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

 The Greeks  (who didn't know Isaac Newton, unless they were particularly psychic)  taught us that HUBRIS (prideful boastfulness) brings NEMESIS (downfall, shame).   Without using these terms or referring to Newton or classical Greece, Jordan Belfort's "Wolf of Wallstreet" tells a tale worth reading and thinking about.

And now that I'm done with Book #52, I'm ready to read Book #53 -- Mockingjay.

 Don't you dare tell me how it ends.