“WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL ?”
Knopf Canada 2011 – Vintage 2012
This puzzling sentence was delivered to the author by her adoptive mother when she revealed her “difference” in sexual preference.
In the form of a lively and whimsical autobiography, Jeanette Winterson recounts her childhood and youth while being adopted by a working class family in Manchester. Faced with a stern and cantankerous adoptive mother, she finds refuge in reading and writing. Books become her most faithful companions in misfortune. Always looking for her missing part and her identity, she will eventually retrace her biological mother.
The author has often praised the curative virtue of books, and especially the curative virtue of stories, fictions, and poetry. As a result, this novel is completely in line with the principles of bibliotherapy to which I adhere and which I would like to share with you. Better than a documentary on bibliotherapy, is an autobiographical novel that tells how books have saved a person’s mental health.
“Books, for me, are a home. Books don’t make a home – they are one, in the sense that just as you do with a door, you open a book, and you go inside. Inside there is a different kind of time and a different kind of space.”
“I had lines inside me, a string of guiding lights. I had language. Fiction and poetry are doses, medicines. What they heal is the rupture reality makes on the imagination. I had been damaged, and a very important part of me had been destroyed – that was my reality, the facts of my life. But on the other side of the facts was who I could be, how I could feel. And as long as I had words for that, images for that, stories for that, then I wasn’t lost.”
“I believe in fiction and the power of stories because that way we speak in tongues. We are not silenced. All of us, when in deep trauma, find we hesitate, we stammer; there are long pauses in our speech. The thing is stuck. We get our language back through the language of others. We can turn to the poem. We can open the book. Somebody has been there for us and deep-dived the words.”
“Happy ending are only a pause. There are three kinds of big endings: Revenge. Tragedy. Forgiveness. Revenge and Tragedy often happen together. Forgiveness redeems the past. Forgiveness unblocks the future.”
Penguin-Berkley editions (2009-2010-2011)
“THE HELP” is the moving story of a project imagined by a white woman and two black women during the 1960s, right in the heart of Mississippi where racial segregation culminates, while people like Martin Luther King still fight for the civil rights of black persons.
Even if this black-and-white racism is particularly inscribed in the American history, it is nonetheless true that the topic of racism and racial superiority has always been and is still relevant in any country of the world.
It is the first novel of Kathryn Stockett who was born and raised in Mississipi. At the end of this best seller, the author talks about her own experience and her love for her own black maid. She emphasizes one quote of the story of which she is particularly fond, namely:
“Wasn’t that the point of the book? For women to realize, We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I’d thought.”
When this sentence appears in the novel, it refers to two persons having the same color. The meaning ? We are all different beings, physically, socially, culturally, but the differences are never as insurmountable as they seem to be … A word!
“The Art of Hearing Heartbeats”
translated from the German
by Kelvin Wiliarty (Other Press – 2012)
This novel has been translated in 25 countries and is considered as an international bestseller.
Julia, a young modern woman of our time, immerses herself in the story of her father’s youth while trying to find him in Burma where he probably disappeared some years ago. Her search leads her to learn how two “different” persons met and loved each other, Tin Win, who had become blind after her mother left him, and Mi Mi, born with crippled feet.
These two persons whom life has not spared will demonstrate an extraordinary power of love which commands admiration and respect.
“I have often wondered what was the source of her beauty, her radiance. It’s not the size of one’s nose, the color of one’s skin, the shape of one’s lips or eyes that make one beautiful or ugly. So what is it? Can you, as a woman, tell me? ” I shook my head. “I will tell you: It’s love. Love makes us beautiful. Do you know a single person who loves and is loved, who is loved unconditionally and who, at the same time, is ugly? There’s no need to ponder the question. There is no such person.”
Gradually Julia will open her eyes to a spiritual universe she did not suspect to exist. The reader will also be the privileged witness.
The author Jan-Philipp Sendker has written a sequel to this novel entitled “A well-tempered heart” in which Julia returns to Burma, the homeland of her father, ten years later.
No doubt, the reading of this novel will help you to find hope in life, and above all faith in real love which is able to transcend difficulties coming from physical differences.