Really not a good idea to read a novel with a central character whose chronic depression occasionally worsens into emotional anguish that leads him to feeling suicidal, not when I'm feeling a bit low myself.
So, an intelligent 18 year old, who was told when he was 7 or so that he was too clever for his own good, and that he talked too much, has become a silent, isolated teenager who finds the company of people his own age distressing and can't see the point of talking to anyone much. Funny, that.
I was becoming increasingly upset by the book, as it reminded me so much of when I was a depressed teenager who couldn't see the point of talking because people don't listen and if they do they don't understand or don't approve or think you're stupid or whatever. So I looked at the end, thinking maybe the boy killed himself, and if so I'd stop reading it, and it looks like he doesn't, he does something "positive" instead, which pissed me off so much I stopped reading it. I mean, he's chronically depressed, life is freaking awful (because of his depression, and his learnt behaviours, and the fact that most people don't really care what you say or how you say it), so it's not really going to help if he talks to some guy his own age on the phone, is it? Not when the guy thinks it'd be cool to go and see A Long Day's Journey Into Night. Bleargh.
So. And I haven't slept much, if at all, since my afternoon nap (of several hours), and it's now 6am, which is about when I went to bed yesterday (this morning), which probably isn't helping my state of mind either, but there you go. Coping strategies aren't always good for you.
A couple of hours ago I'd actually switched the light off and was probably going to sleep fairly soon, but there was a screaming cat fight outside somewhere, so I went out to see who it was (I have three cats, who are all indoors tonight, thank heavens, and am looking after two other cats, who are outdoors most of the time, because they're used to being street cats, and get freaked out and wail and break out through fly-screens if I shut them in), and stepped on a slug in the laundry, which was disgusting (and probably fatal for the slug - I threw it out into the backyard), and then went to check out the front, and my friend Sandy was coming back across the street with her tail all bristly, and hissing at whoever it was she'd been fighting with.
So I sat outside and talked with Sandy for a while, and sang to her (good thing my flatmate's away, cos her bedroom window opens onto the front yard where I was sitting with Sandy), and stroked her, and let her bite and kick my hand (she doesn't bite all that hard, but the kicking can scratch through a layer or two of skin) till she calmed down a bit. Which made me feel much better, that I could do something to help someone. And I understand Sandy's desire to beat the shit out of someone when she's stressed, angry or afraid.
In practise I'm much more like her sister Tabitha, who is a very sweet-natured, timid cat - Sandy's survival tactic is to be tougher than anyone who threatens her, unless they're really big and dangerous, like a dog or a human, in which case she runs really fast and climbs really well. Tabitha's survival tactic is to be small and go around things and back down and run away and climb well. And if people are kind to her she's very smoochy; she likes having chin rubs and tummy rubs, although she's very wary at the moment because I gave her a tablet the other night, and she hasn't started trusting me again yet.
So now I've written this (and might actually post it), I'll go back to bed and have another go at sleeping. The indoors cats will probably want to go out soon, as it's getting light. Hmmm. Should I let them out now, and then go to bed? Or go to bed, and hope they don't wake me up too soon, wanting food or to be let out. We'll see...
Good lord! well, I did look it up, the author's name is Peter Cameron, and there's a feature film based on the book (which was published in 2007) which will be released in February 2012 (if you're reading this post after Feb 2012, please read that as "which was released in...").
I don't know that I want to see the film. But who knows, it might be less agonising than reading the book. The cast looks really good. But there's no mention in the cast of John who works at the art gallery, so maybe they cut him out, and used something else for that pivotal scene from the book.
Here's a photo of Sandy, because she's beautiful.