Throwback Thursday: Josephine's Book Edition

It’s not the makeup and it’s not the way that you dance and this is like love too where there’s only one dancer who will win your contest that night and they are not particularly the best one”

Daniel Handler’s We Are Pirates is released today, did you know, which is super duper extraordinarily exciting. I am VERY excited to get my little hands on a copy of this book and as such it seemed fitting that my Throwback Thursday this week should be Adverbs, which I adore. For some reason this book isn’t on my Goodreads, which suggests I read it before I signed up (May 2009 if you wondered) which makes this a real life throwback. If you’d asked me I would have estimated my having read this around 2009, but it must’ve been the earlier part of that year. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. What matters, right now, is that I loved it. So much more than I love the Unfortunate Events books that Handler writes as Lemony Snicket (although I do enjoy those, I’m just not fangirling over them like so many others.) Adverbs though. Yep, that’s 2009 me fangirling like a pro.

And when love is over when the diner of love seems closed from the outside you want all those hours back along with anything you left at the lover’s house and maybe a couple of things which aren’t technically yours on the grounds that you wasted a portion of your life and those hours have all gone southside.

Adverbs is excellent. It’s somehow both novel and short story collection, with each chapter (story?) having a different adverb as a title, all focusing on love. It’s a love story. It’s full of characters all wonderful and puzzling and endearing and of stories that are the same. It explores love and loss, humour and anger and it does so in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It’s the kind of book that makes you love words and love writing and just love. It’s the kind of book that makes your face do the happy thing because it’s kind of remarkable and you don’t come across something remarkable all that often and GOD I cannot believe, actually, that I haven’t talked about it before. Writing this is making me want to read it all over again (and my copy has a pretty cover too, which helps.)

So she loved him. She just did immediately and again often and clearly naturally and soundly and obviously and many others

It’s probably not the easiest book to read, thinking about it, because you’ve got recurring characters but no obvious narrative (but a distinct ability to make the ordinary seem extraordinary) and Handler is all meandering sentences and disjointed thoughts and repetition, but that works for me: I am a fan, actually, of the run-on sentence, of the way it makes you feel like the writer is talking to you rather than trying to write to any set rules. (It’s a good job I am a fan actually, because oftentimes I look at my own writing and think ‘holy run on sentence, batman.’)

They looked at each other like a pair of parentheses.

Adverbs is a gem of a book, it proves in it’s own inimitable way that love really is a verb, that it can be found in a million different places and takes many forms: romantic, platonic, familial, each as precious, as joyful and as painful as the last.  It kind of feels like if you’ve loved or been loved then this book was written for you. I liked it a whole whole lot.

The clock in his car hadn't adjusted to daylight saving time yet and said it was four-fifteen when it was really five-fifteen. Peter probably didn't have time to fiddle with it, or it was tricky, as car clocks are. I didn't mind. You can't mind these things, you just can't, for to dislike what makes a person human is to dislike all humans, or at least other people who can't work clocks. You have to love the whole person, if you are truly in love. If you are going to take a lifelong journey with somebody, you can't mind if the other person believes they are leaving for that journey an hour earlier than you, as long as truly, in the real world, you are both leaving at exactly the same time.