I was drawn to this novel for many reasons. First of all, it’s set in Ohio, where I’ve always lived. I’m also fascinated by familial drama and the cultural atmosphere of the 1970s and the author’s name is lovely: Celeste Ng, pronounced ing. It’s aesthetically and phonetically pleasing. And chiefly, it explores the lives of an interracial couple and their children—being an African-American with very fair skin, I grew up being identified and treated like a multiracial person, even though I’m not (I have white ancestry but it’s too far back to matter). Those feelings of isolation and social anxiety and mild body dysmorphia forever in my marrow. The various racially-charged interpersonal dramas. So what are you? What are you? No one looking like me, not anywhere I looked, not ever. When the local newspaper writes about Lydia after her death, they mention how alone she was, how she didn’t have any friends, and the editorialist always mentions directly before or after that she was the only Asian girl at the school, that she stood out in the halls. No one looked like her, not there, where she looked.- Celeste Ng’s Everything I Never Told You: A Review (by me.)
The way I saw it, she had started it all, plying me with her mum’s stolen booze and sucking my tongue on the roundabout in the children’s playground. Everything was spinning so fast, I’d had to kiss her back to keep from falling off the edge of the world. Her mouth tasted of schnapps and peach lip-gloss. She kissed like a bank robber, like she was trying to get in and out as fast as possible.- Witch, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales by Kirsty Logan
Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.- C.S. Lewis
Light pillars on a winter night in Laramie, Wyoming.
They spent the next half-hour texting. I wanted to text someone but no one was expecting to hear from me. I had friends but they were mostly school or church friends. We didn’t play with each other’s hair or tell each other our deepest secrets. It wasn’t at all what I’d thought junior high friends would be like—I thought we’d be sleeping in the same bed, shopping for clothes. I thought we’d tell each other everything. I knew it was my own fault. When someone lightly touched my arm or leg while we were talking, I flinched. I didn’t know how I could want things so badly while making it impossible to ever get them.- The Last Days of California by Mary Miller