Thursday, May 17, 2012

BTT (#22) ~ living in a book

A Book and a Short Latte @ Booking Through Thursday asks:
If you had to choose to live within a novel, which would it be?
What a strange question!  I go into novels to  escape or to have a change of scenery, but I wouldn't really want to live in any of them.  I was ready to toss this question aside, as I thought of novels I've read.  None of them stood out for me, and I was very turned off by the answers some participants came up with -- I can't imagine even wanting to read about vampires, for example, much less choosing to live among them.  Then when I my mind wandered elsewhere, it came to me -- one novel that was "real" enough (no vampires, no dystopia, no alien planets).  Here's a world I can imagine living in.

Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God ~ by Joe Coomer, 1995

Nine weeks after losing her husband, Charlotte escapes to a wooden motor yacht in New Hampshire, where her shipmates are an aging blue-haired widow, an emotional seventeen-year-old, and the ugliest dog in literature.  A genuine bond develops among the three women, as their distinct personalities and paths cross and converge against the backdrop of emotional secrets, abuse, and the wages of old age.  Off the boat, Charlotte, an archaeologist, joins a local excavation to uncover an ancient graveyard.  Here she can indulge her passion for reconstructing the past, even as she tries to bury her own recent history.  She comes to realize, however, that the currents of time are as fluid and persistent as the water that drifts beneath her comforting new home.
I can imagine being friends with Charlotte, the archaeologist.  In college, I took a class in archaeology and went on a "dig" not too far from the University.  We found indications of Native American habitation in the remains of mussel shells in the area where a company planned to build.  It was fun, and my 6-year-old son was allowed to watch -- because he wanted to be a paleontologist when he grew up.  Do you know what that is, exactly?  I was surprised he knew the word, so I looked it up to be sure I understood.
Paleontology is the study of prehistoric life, like dinosaurs and fossils.
I remember my son standing above the pits, not allowed to touch anything, only to watch.  I can still see him leaning forward for a better look (from above us), holding his hands behind him.  He had a great imagination, but he did not grow up to be a paleontologist.  Instead, he manages the distribution of books and magazines in a local company.

I can imagine talking archaeology with Charlotte and visiting on the boat -- that "wooden motor yacht in New Hampshire" that belongs to the older woman.  I love sailing, and these three (when we include the 17-year-old) sailed to Prince Edward Island (PEI), home of Anne of Green Gables.
Anne of Green Gables ~ by Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1908
Brother and sister Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert look forward to meeting the young orphan boy whom they hope to give a good life to at their Avonlea farm, Green Gables.  When they are accidentally sent Anne Shirley instead, they make the most of the orphanage's mistake, and welcome the imaginative girl with loving arms.  Under their care and through the friendships she forges at school, Anne enjoys adventures and experiences that teach her how to be loving and caring in return.
It was the lure of Anne Shirley that took the adventurers sailing off to PEI in the first place, so maybe I would also meet Anne.  Why not?  If I "move" into one novel, why couldn't I venture into another as well?  Imagine the places I could go.  Oh, wait!  I do that already, whenever I open a novel.  So what's the advantage of moving in permanently?  I have no idea.

I do know one thing, though, that I'd prefer a novel that seems "real" enough that I would enjoy being there.  Charlotte and Anne would be interesting people to be around, don't you think?


Laurel-Rain Snow said...

These both sound like great worlds to live in...I loved the Anne of Green Gables books, and I'm enthralled by beach settings.

Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

Unknown said...

These sound like two good places to visit.

Helen's Book Blog said...

That's such an interesting question since I cannot really imagine giving up my current life to go live in a book. However, there are books that stay with me and I sometimes forget the characters aren't real. Shanghai Girls did that to me