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Moonlight Reader

Christy by Catherine Marshall; or, when off-topic is the topic

Christy - Catherine Marshall

I posted this review on Goodreads this afternoon, but wanted to add it over here as well. In case it gets deleted over there.



Until 3 days ago, I had 1500 books on my Goodreads bookshelves. Until one month ago, I was passionate about Goodreads, an evangelist, really, telling everyone I knew - who loves books (and there are a diminishing number of those people in my life, sadly) about the amazing community that I had found here on Goodreads.


This is not a protest review. But it is an off-topic review, although I will get to the point sooner or later.


But I came to Goodreads precisely for the off-topic reviews. For the friendships. For the occasionally over-the-top snark and the silliness and the passion. But mostly because the people that I found here were like me in one extremely unique way. There are a lot of people who enjoy reading. There are a lot of people who profess to love books. There are commensurately fewer people who read widely, and wildly, and with a great consuming fury that causes them to recall their lives in books.


I remember that I read The Portrait of a Lady on my honeymoon. It was the Penguin classics edition, with the black spine, and I still have it sitting on my bookshelf. I read it next to a pool in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and the cover is still rippled where my new husband splashed me in an effort to get me to stop reading and join him at the swim up bar (I did. And this was the first in many years of my husband splashing, poking, tickling, teasing and otherwise attempting to pull my attention away from whatever book I was reading).


I remember that I read The Game of Thrones on a cruise. This, too, was in the pre-kindle days, before I could take an entire bookshelf with me everywhere (and what a luxury that turned out to be). I was going away for a week, and I didn't have a lot of space to pack, and cruise ship libraries are, in my experience, pretty bleak places, full of novels written by Nicholas Sparks and little else. In a moment of inspiration, I packed the first three, bricklike paperback editions of GRRM's epic series, concluding that they would keep me busy for the entire week, while only taking up the space of three paperbacks. I was right. It worked a treat. Except, of course, for the part where I finished the books on the sixth day, leaving me with one lonely, bookless, day to spare.


That is what I found on Goodreads. I found my people. People who, when they pack for vacation, pack their books first and decide which clothes to take second, based on how much (little) space is left in the suitcase. People who are always reading, and talking about reading, something.


I have 1100 books on my home kindle account, and another 450 on a bookclub account I share with friends. I have bookshelves full of books at home, at least another four to five hundred books in print form that are waiting for me to read. I could probably read for a full decade and never buy another book (not that I will, but I could). I am not on Goodreads because I need book recommendations. My entire non-professional brain capacity is given over to books, and authors, and publishers, and random ephemera about all three of them. I can find my own books.


So, what was I here for? I was here for the off-topic. For the stories. For the conversations. For the crazy. For the people who loved, like I did, Trixie Belden. To talk about books that I read long ago and that stole my heart.


Like this one. That is where Christy comes into this off-topic review. This is a book that I read long ago, when I was a girl, before I went off to college. It was a library book, that my mother, of all people, checked out because it was a book that she had loved, and she wanted to share it with me.


I wanted to turn up my nose at it - I was a teenager after all, and very, very edgy. Any my mother and I were at a rough patch in our relationship. I wore Ray-Ban sunglasses, and skinny jeans with zippers at the ankle, and black (lots and lots of black), I spoke bad high school French. I was insufferable, pretentious, caught up in my own intellect, and I saw little in my mother - doctor's wife, stay-at-home mom - to emulate. God, what a little snot I was.


And this book was about a Christian girl who goes to Appalachia to teach. There was no reason that this book should have worked for me. And yet, it did. It enraptured me, and I stayed up all night reading it. And even as snotty, and edgy, and obnoxious as I was, I saw the look in my mom's eyes when she asked me if I liked it, and I couldn't lie to her and break her heart, and I admitted that yes, yes I did like it. I liked it a lot, and I thanked her for giving it to me. And we hugged, and some of the tension between myself and my mother, in those very difficult years between childhood and adulthood melted away with that little bit of common ground. From a book. This book.


That's all I have to say.


Except that I'm sad because Goodreads is different now, and this review is off-topic, and off-topic is no longer allowed.