Sunday, July 1, 2018
The Love Letters of Abelard and Lily by Laura Creedle
In reflecting on this book I can see that Lily and Abelard's romance is very nearly a fantasy in how quickly it developed and how perfectly these two misfits fit together. I can see that, but I don't care because while I was reading it I just loved both of them and how their oddness was what brought them together. Although I guess the genre that best categorizes this book is romance, there is so much more in it, most notably, Lily's struggle with ADHD. Not having that myself I can't speak to the authenticity of how it is portrayed (although the author says she has it) but assuming it's accurate, I got a real feel for the frustration of navigating the world and I could see why she would choose brain surgery even though that's a pretty extreme option. There is so much rich description of Lily's reactions but the scene that sticks with me is when she sees other girls coming back to school with fancy coffee drinks and she wonders what it would be like to move through the world like those girls - no monsters inside, free to take so much for granted - and I realized that I am those girls and really thought about how Lily was struggling every minute of the day. Creedle's writing is also full of just some beautifully crafted turns of phrase that had me marking passages to go back and ponder. For instance, I was mostly sold on the book already by page three with the description of the noise level in a school without walls - a stupid educational/architectural trend that has already had two revivals during my career. And then Lily's ruminations about happiness and our desire to be happy all the time and how we use happiness as a yardstick to measure the worth of our lives which she sums up as such: "It's a bully of a word, happy." That sentence stopped me in my (reading) tracks and knocked me back with its simplicity and profundity. It is nice to read a book that I not only enjoyed for its story, but also for the way in which it is crafted.