I am 24 today.
Being in your twenties, I am finding out, is a lot like the Looney Tunes. Wile. E. Coyote, to be specific. You’re forever chasing that Roadrunner. Every hare-brained scheme you concoct to catch it inevitably winds up with you punching yourself in the face. But you keep on trying.
Cartoons were so violent when we were kids.
To celebrate/mourn my having aged another year, I figured it would be fitting to name some of the books that have gotten me through the perpetual edge-of-a-cliff-ness that has solidified my twenties as confusing and clichéd.
Tess is a girl ‘…shot from a mundane, provincial past, she’s come to New York for a life she can’t define, except as a burning drive to become someone, to belong somewhere.’
She’s also a waitress, which I relate to, although I do way less cocaine. Which is to say, none at all.
One of the things I so liked about this book is that Tess’ life existed as if on an island. She had a past, and presumably some sort of future, but the narration clings stubbornly to the present. Owing to my own tendencies to slip between past and future every other hour, I appreciated the there-ness of Tess’ character.
This is a poetically written girl coming of age in a world of disillusionment story. Required reading for all of us going through a similar thing.
My Life on the Road – Gloria Steinem
I couldn’t bring myself to review this book. I loved it TOO MUCH. It is the feminist bible. It is an instruction manual for a life LIVED. Gloria Steinem has spent her life travelling, listening to people’s stories and working with them to create real change. It is feminism at its intersectional best.
I might have to abandon this post and go reread instead.
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
I mention this book in every list I ever make. Sometimes when the world starts to feel small I reread these words and watch it start to expand again:
‘There was a passport in his bag, money in his pocket. There was a smile dancing on his lips, although it was a wary smile, for the world is a bigger place than a little graveyard on a hill; and there would be dangers in it and mysteries, new friends to make, old friends to rediscover, mistakes to be made and many paths to be walked before he would, finally, return to the graveyard or ride with the Lady on the broad back of her great grey stallion.
But between now and then, there was Life; and Bod walked into it with his eyes and his heart wide open.’
This poetry collection helps keep the eyes and heart wide open.
To me, the characters in this book felt much more like my own age than teenagers. They are all trying to figure things out on their own – who they are, what they want, what they’re good at. They created a home out of each other.
So much of life is searching for your people. I love reading books about those who have found theirs.
Sometimes I feel as if I am building a girl out of books. It seems like a pretty decent way to live, at present.