If I had read this book sooner in my life, I would not be sitting here writing this right now.
I don't know where I would be or what I would be doing (seriously, it's raining and dark, what are my options?) but I would not be writing about this 100 book project because I would not have started this project because I would have planted in my soul that I had already read the best book ever written and therefore had no room in my heart for another book.
If I had read this book sooner in my life, then I might not have cried so hard in The Book Thief or tiptoed so slowly through 100 Years of Solitude. I would not have hugged The Fault in Our Stars so hard or held my breath during The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
If I had read this book sooner in my life, other books would have seemed irrelevant, juvenile, meandering. That is because I connected so deeply Florentino in this book, a romantic who sets his heart on one woman (very Gatsby and Daisy) and stumbles through 50 years waiting for her.
The plot alone is good enough; the setting is a feast of Caribbean ethics, architecture and small town drama.
My kindle told me this book would take me 6 hours. It was wrong, this book filled 6 days of slow reading, a sentence here, a page there, three pages then a sigh. I wanted to know how it ended (desperately!) but not so much that I wanted it to end.
When I finished the book I feel so moved I had to talk to SOMEONE so I reached out to my beleaguered students before lecture on Friday.
Has anyone read Love in the Time of Cholera?
Panic crosses the room.
I can see a blonde whisper to her guy-friend who sometimes disappears for a week at a time and probably depends on her for her notes "Did you? Were we supposed to?"
I pop the bubble of anxiety.
It wasn't assigned! Its part of my book project. Hasn't ANYONE in this room READ this book? Please?
It's really good, it's amazing, it's smart and funny and so painful and beautiful. And now that it's over I feel empty.
I want to pull my kindle app out and read quotes but that would be a little much, so I contain myself and wait for SOMEONE to talk.
A students finally speaks.
It is a grown up, from the middle front row of veterans and parents and survivors of a longer road to the college classroom. "Have you seen the movie?"
I gasp. There's a MOVIE?
She smiles and nods. Others nod.
Watch the movie.
I can't help myself. I need to know, so I ask. Is it.... dirty?
The class giggles.
I need to know more. I just need to know, so I ask. And.... were there Latin lovers?
She nods. Watch the movie!
Other students agree. Watch the movie. Fine, I will, I tell them, but you all should read the BOOK.
I love the raw brutal romanticism.
I love the suffering. I love the whimsy.
I will not summarize this book for you, but I will give you my most favorite quotes.
Then I'm going to watch the movie.
- “his examination revealed that he had no fever, no pain anywhere, and that his only concrete feeling was an urgent desire to die. All that was needed was shrewd questioning...to conclude once again that the symptoms of love were the same as those of cholera.”
- “Very well, I will marry you if you promise not to make me eat eggplant.”
- On suffering after being rejected: “Take advantage of it now, while you are young, and suffer all you can, because these things don't last your whole life.”
- “He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”
- “Amputees suffer pains, cramps, itches in the leg that is no longer there. That is how she felt without him, feeling his presence where he no longer was.”
I don't know if I'll read another book for a few weeks.
Probably not until after I read semester papers and exams and write reports.
Maybe I'll get myself a book for my birthday.
I think by then, I might be ready.
If not, this book was so great, I will be quite pleased to end my 100 book journey right here and rest awhile, completely satisfied.