I’m reading Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver, and it’s a trip. I liked Prodigal Summer, but this thing is an experience. It’s so good that I almost can’t stand it, but that could be because it is hitting seriously close to home. Among the several competing themes is the main character Codi’s relationship with her little sister, who has gone to Nicaragua to aid the revolution. I was doing all right until the little sister got kidnapped. The panic, the anxiety, and the fear are palpable. If I had known this was going to happen, I doubt I would’ve started reading the book in the first place. That’s how traumatic is it for me. I mean, Codi gets letters from her sister in Nicaragua that say things like “I hope you won’t be hurt by this but I don’t think I’ll ever be going back. I don’t think I can.” How can she not be hurt by that? The sister doesn’t need Codi as much as Codi needs her sister. It’s that simple and it’s that complicated. And it’s that painful.
I know I have to finish reading this book, but I have to be careful. I can’t read it at work or even in the middle of the day at home. I have to wait until I’m on the way to bed because it can really mess me up and ruin me for human contact.
I think this is what I wantedâ€”to be really affected by a book. But this is a classic case of “be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.”