Friday, April 22, 2005

The Dive From Clausen's Pier

I finished this book last night. It was a good read and an interesting study in the responses to a tragedy. The heroine, Carrie, is in a waning relationship when her fiance is injured and becomes quadraplegic. I understood Carrie's fear and need to run. I also understood how she was pulled back to her small town. Of course, I will point out to the author, Ann Packer, that Madison, Wisconsin, seemed like a very large city when compared to the truly tiny town closest to where I grew up. Even so, I can relate to the "Midwestern Nice" that Carrie exudes even when she is in New York City. I even related to her compulsive sewing. There is nothing strange in that!

More interesting perhaps than the book itself was the discussion among the members of my book club. I found that I was in the minority in that I didn't dislike Carrie. Several members of the book club were unhappy with the choices that she made or didn't make. One member was convinced that Carrie was a dreadful, evil person. In the year or so that we have been meeting and discussing a wide variety of books, I have learned that this person sees the world in sharp black and white. There is no grey in his world. People are either good or evil and his classification of people can be based on something so simple as political affiliation or religious choice.

Believing that the world is this simple, this cut and dried, is certainly tempting. It would be so much easier to be able to judge people with a quick test and then dismiss and ignore those who don't pass. Too bad that I have met very few people who are this easy to classify. Sad too, that I think this person is missing out on a lot. When you don't see the shades of grey, I think you miss the rainbow as well.

1 comment:

JJ said...

I read The Dive From Clausen's Pier last year and thought I had blogged about it but it turns out I read it in May, before I started my blog.

I thought it brought up interesting ideas, beat one of the ideas into a pulp, and I didn't like how she resolved the conflict: it seemed to me that neither choice was very positive for her and that she could have found a better balance. OTOH, lots of people make choices that I don't understand and yet work for them. She seemed to see only two workable solutions when I could think of more. The author only gave her limited choices with limited attachments so that there was no choice where love and sex combined with being a good friend. Maybe we were supposed to forsee this in her future but she seemed locked into a particular role when the book ended.