Friday, October 31, 2014

Have You Ever Had a Relationship End Because of a Book?

This Sunday’s New York Times Book Review contains an article titled “HaveYou Ever Had a Relationship End Because of a Book?” Authors Zoe Heller and Anna Holmes each tell a personal story about books trumping love. Well, I have a story too.

Back in the late 1980s, my girlfriend and I were both reading the same book, The Bonfire of the Vanities, Tom Wolfe’s 700 page first novel. I had purchased a paperback copy, and was enjoying it so much that Kirsten started reading it before I finished. Whoever climbed into bed first would grab the book and refuse to give it up. One night, after I had won possession fair and square, Kirsten made the case that since I was on page four hundred, and she had only read the first two hundred pages, I should let her have the book so she could “catch up.” I think I argued that 1) it was not a contest, 2) I’d grabbed it first, and 3) it was my book.

She said, “Fine, then I’m going to stare at you while you read, and you won’t be able to enjoy it.”

It was a strong move, and it might have worked had I not been at a really good part in the novel. A solution occurred to me. I opened the book to the middle, tore it in half, and handed her the first part. Her mouth fell open. She stared at the bisected book, then looked at me as if I’d ripped a child asunder.

Startled by her reaction (I thought I’d come up with a perfect solution), I said, “Let me know when you run out of words and I’ll tear off another section.”

She threw the half-book across the room. To the best of my knowledge she never finished reading it. A few weeks later we parted.


Little Messy Missy said...

Sounds like a great solution to me.

Daughter Number Three said...

Proof that you have the wisdom of Solomon.