Here we go, continuing with the group read of Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. For week 5 there were two poems and two stories, making them a very easy yet emotional read for me. I enjoyed the two poems but the two stories were not my favorite. As I go through each one I’ll explain further. Remember there will be spoilers!
The fifth week stories are:
The Problem of Susan
How Do You Think it Feels?
Locks: I don’t know if I read this story at the right time, or the wrong time. I’d like to leave behind happy memories for my daughter and that’s one of the reasons I’ve been reading aloud to her daily. So this story, of passing on stories (or rather, as I’d like to call them, memories) to your children hit me really hard when I read it. Tears welled up in my eyes and it took me a few minutes to recover before moving on the next story. Then I had to pick up my daughter from school, so sitting in a parked car, listening to Janis Joplin on the radio, debating whether to publish my movie memories of my mom or if I wanted to keep those memories to myself, it having been the week my mom passed away four years ago... I was just overwhelmed emotionally and had a good cry. Neil wrote in the Introduction, “I believe we owe it to each other to tell stories.” I agree. We need these stories; these memories, and I cherish mine and hope to pass on some to my daughter.
The Problem of Susan: Having only read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and having only watched the first two Narnia movies, I had no idea what had happened to Susan until reading this story. I didn’t really connect with this one. I just haven’t felt that magic for Narnia and if I was ever to feel it, I think it has been spoiled by some of the imagery here of the lion and the witch, which was really gross.
Instructions: Instructions is basically a list of instructions to survive a fairy tale but I don’t recognize any of them except for the references made to Neil’s own stories, two of which have been covered already in the group read. But it’s still fun to read.
How Do You Think It Feels?: I’m going to get harsh here but I hated this one. I don’t hate Neil’s writing, I just hated the subject matter. The man in this story was just looking for an opportunity to cheat, and as it progressed he felt himself in love and became this miserably pathetic, weak loser. When his mistress broke up with him, after he announced he was getting a divorce, I thought, "Well, good, but she should have done that a long time ago when she found out he was married!" I think the question for this cheating husband and his lover was not how they felt, but how his wife and two daughters felt. Then when they met up again, years later and the ex-lover pursued the divorced husband, before finding out he was divorced... ugh, these are just two awful people that I don’t wish to read about again. Their reunion and acting like what happened between them didn’t destroy a marriage or possibly this man’s relationship with his daughters, made me very upset.
I read these stories all in one day. I was already emotional so I may not be entirely fair with this story. But honestly, I don’t think I’ll be reading it again to give it another chance or another opinion. Stainless Steel Droppings had some great insight to the story that helped me understand it better, the thing about the golem. But I still don’t like it and I’ll be happy to move on the next four stories, which will be:
Fifteen Painted Cards From a Vampire Tarot
Feeders and Eaters
Happy Fragile Things Reading!