the false friend-myla goldberg

“By Huck’s time, Celia had come to accept that passion was an inborn trait like perfect pitch or a photographic memory, easy to admire and impossible to cultivate.” (168)

now that i’ve read a second book (bee season was the first) by myla goldberg, i’m committing to calling her style “haunting”. melancholy is another adjective that works. i think this book explores our first relationships (with our parents, with our friends-and specifically for women, with our little girlfriends) and how we carry over what we learn (to our benefit or detriment) to our partnerships as we get older. i’m on team (john) waters that subscribes to the reality that if we’re over thirty and still blaming our parents for fucking us up, we really need to move on. but i’m glad for this meditation on how just how intense relationships between children (whether lateral or horizontal) are, and just how long feelings can linger.


“A voice like that had logged Celia’s late arrivals but she couldn’t tell if this was the same one. In high school she’d never bothered to discern individuals among ambient personnel over thirty.” (59)

“What struck Celia most about young children was the intensity of their passions, life too new to be modulated, perspective a possession not yet acquired. At that age friendship was a continuous present based on proximity and the shared fact of being alive. Heartbreak and betrayal were commonplace, authentic and ardent each time, forgotten within moments.” (79)

“Celia was seduced by the simplicity of her relationship to her meal. It was too much food, really, a plate filled according to a mother’s concern and not a daughter’s appetite.” (136)

“A friendship like hers and Djuna’s could only ever be a child’s possession. Only a child could withstand its stranglehold.” (142)


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