Monday, February 7, 2011

Searching for Purpose . . . And an Ending?

I am more than happy to commence reading something else now that I am finally finished Commencement: A Novel by J. Courtney Sullivan.

Admittedly, it wasn't ALL bad.  I liked Part I, bouncing back and forth from college and what life has become 5 years later for four close friends who met at Smith College (for women) in freshman year.  The whole women's college aspect is one big cliché, but I always enjoy books with multiple main characters, and the college itself actually is an interesting and at times humorous place to have brought the girls together. 

With such a variety of characters there is usually someone to relate to.  However, with this particular book, I can't completely relate to anyone, what with all the lesbian experiences, extreme feminist activism, clichéd student-teacher affairs, and "well-bred" Catholic Southern belles. (I might ask, which of these things is not like the others?)

I can, however, relate to the struggle of dealing with the fact that life is never quite what we imagine it will be when we're safely enrolled in college, or even high school, planning for our futures.

My enjoyment of the novel ended as Part I ended. Part II dragged on and on. While the plot began to lack purpose, I began to lack interest.  Add to the fact that it didn't really have an ending to speak of, and quickly all of my good impressions from the first part were spoiled.  Although, I do think the lack of an ending was some intentional message about how life never seems to neatly wrap itself up the way you hope it might.

Altogether, the novel made me a bit nostalgic for my own university days, and it heightened my desire to reconnect with old friends.  It is crazy how fast time can go by when you're wrapped up in making plans and figuring out your own business.  It would seem that the message here is to stop planning and worrying, and just start living.  To manage this, I'd probably have to give up one of my three well-used calendars, but it could happen . . .

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