Monday, September 28, 2009

ON BOOKS ~ Getting Mother's Body...

MizB asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
  • Share the title of the book the teaser comes from…that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

From pg. 43 of GETTING MOTHER'S BODY by Suzan-Lori Parks (fiction):

"It's wrong to let Willa Mae's grave get paved over. Being in the ground is bad enough, now she gotta have a Piggly Wiggly or who knows what with all them people walking around and they shopping carts rolling around on top of her."

I think I would have enjoyed this book more if I had not just read Faulkner's "As I Lay Dying" earlier this year. Because all I did while reading this was compare it to the classic that I enjoyed very much.

Faulkner's is about a very poor family's mother who dies and then gets carted all over creation in the best illustration of Murphy's Law you might ever read. There is quite a bit of humor mixed in with some pretty heavy commentary on society.

Parks' is about a very poor family of sorts who decide to dig up the dead body of a mother in order to cash in the jewels she was buried with. There is some humor here too as well as some of the same heavy topics Faulkner covered, like the search for an abortion, dying wishes, class/race and questionable mothers.

I'm chuckling a little as I think back on both stories now. But I think I was kept from seeing all the good stuff because I couldn't get over the use of varying first person narration with each chapter titled by the name of the character giving us that moment's perspective. This is an excellent method for story telling made popular by none other than Faulkner. Parks even employed his same effect of having one chapter be nothing more than a single sentence. Though her's was a lot more humorous than his.

In the end, I enjoyed the book well enough. But I think the story could have stood on its own without the gimmick of paying homage to another. Billy Beede transformed and became less pitiful and more likeable as the story evolved and the story got more entertaining when the characters were tossed together and made to interact. I thought portions of the ending were clever and others disappointed me because I had it ingrained in me that Beedes would never rise above their Beedeism. I guess Parks has a soft spot.

12 comments:

ds said...

I love "As I Lay Dying" too, and for similar reasons. The structure is amazing--and so perfect for the story (but then it's Faulkner, so of course it is).

Sandy Nawrot said...

OK, I know you told me I had to read "As I Lay Dying" a long time ago, and I still haven't read it! Sometimes it depressed me when I think about how many wondeful books I want to read, and I can't get to them all! If faced with the choice, I will definitely pick that Faulkner over Parks!

kaye said...

I loved the teaser . . . buried beneath the Piggly Wiggly, what an abomination! Nice review though. I don't like change in first person narrative either. It confuses the story I think.

Lisa-Marie Jordan said...

That sounds like a really interesting book! I've never read "As I Lay Dying", either, but I might have to put it on my TBR list!

stacybuckeye said...

I've never heard of this book and the style sounds interesting. I've never read FAulkner so I wouldn't have to worry about comparison.

therubycanary said...

I would have thought that was really funny, except I've worked on several archaeology projects where burials were really paved over, usually in the name of a new Walmart.

Jennifer said...

The teaser grabbed my attention as a teaser should. I giggled at the Piggly Wiggly line. Mine is here: http://rundpinne.blogspot.com/2009/09/puzzle-king-teaser-tuesdays.html

celi.a said...

Ha! That's funny. Weird to worry about something like that, but funny all the same. Great teaser!

You can check mine out here.

Phyl said...

I haven't read either book (I'd probably choose Faulkner first), but this teaser did sound really good. Great choice!

My own teaser is at Bookishgal.

hmsgofita said...

Maybe I should read Faulkner first! Great teaser.

Catherine @ The Blonde Diaries said...

That sounds like a pretty heavy book! I have not read this one or Faulkner's book yet. I'm not sure if I would be able to handle it.

I'm not sure if your teaser is suppose to be comical but I did chuckle a little when reading it.

Sadako said...

I've always meant to read it--you might have prompted me to finally dig it out again!