a message to Patty Berglund from the blogger
…it occurred to her that she was a person who dwelt in fantasies with essentially no relation to reality.
Franzen skillfully crafts Patty Berglund, protagonist. She’s complicated and multidimensional in ways that strike me as hard to read; she’s almost too human, almost too afflicted with average human flaws, flaws I could find in myself. And she’s sad in her humanity, incapable of seeing her own worth, her own goodness, specialness and value, yet another flaw that can resonate all too easily. She believes herself altogether unworthy and detached from her own reality.
When I was young, my mom and I would watch While You Were Sleeping weekly. I’d blow into the VCR by habit and push the old VHS inside. We’d fall asleep quoting the lines, always giggling at the banter about a leaning hug.
Melanie and I wrote a romantic comedy screenplay in seventh grade, entitled, Life, Love & Something Else. Patrick and Grant were two of the main characters, their love interests in the same group of friends. We enacted their dialogue aloud, passing a spiral bound notebook back and forth at our sleepovers and in between periods (and during classes) at school.
I can still recall the covers of the young adult romance-filled fiction I devoured as a pre-teen. To this day I think holding hands walking on the beach at sunset is the pinnacle of romance, an idea learned from one of those very novels.
I’m versed in the art of contrived, imagined romance. I have engrained ideas, passions and expectations for love. I may be a person inclined to dwell in fantasies with essentially no relation to reality, but I’m beginning to learn through trial and error and life itself that reality can be sweeter than those fantasies.
I hope Patty Berglund grows to discover the same in the next 394 pages.
Reading can be free (yay libraries!), but if you’re like me and love nothing better than growing your already overflowing bookshelves with the smell of the printed word, check out AbeBooks.com and, in D.C., Capitol Hill Books for inexpensive, used books.