between gods-alison pick

“One person’s certainty makes room for another’s reluctance. This is true of dynamics within a relationship, and true of the existence of the relationship itself.” (99)

“It’s hard to tell whether I feel disappointment tinged with relief, or the opposite.” (215)

“At a time of spiritual crisis, it is best to do nothing. To float, and collapse into bed, I find myself unable to pray. I am between Gods, as others are between relationships or careers.” (92)

“I’m looking in the wrong place. I’m looking outside, when I know full well the answers I need are inside me. It’s just so much harder to find them there.” (119)

i believe this is still my pick so far for the OLA evergreen summer reading list. perhaps it’s the order in which i read them in, but there was more in this that i could relate to- not directly, but not indirectly either. i asked a friend for his opinion as he has a very strong one on all things jew-and he didn’t know her name, but when i showed him a picture, he laughed because apparently ok cupid had made them as a match for the past two years. judging from the rockiness of her marriage as described in the book, i suppose i’m not surprised that she’d be online dating. unsolicitedly, our produce manager was like, “i know her! i haven’t read any of her books though”.

“As a writer, I believe in the power of words, but there are things words cannot speak to, worlds that language cannot name.” (362)

“I’m silent. I know he’s lashing out because I’m here.” (323)

“We talk for a while about the legacy of denial, about how the grief I am feeling isn’t just my own but my father’s and grandparents’ as well. About how a secret, passed down the generations, grows until it’s impossible to hold. About the sudden desire I have to fix the past, to undo the wrong that’s been done.” (53)

“So by the time depression came for me in my early twenties, I already had two decades of unexpressed grief accumulated inside me, the grief of small pains and sleights. Yes, in the big picture I was a content child with a very happy childhood. None of the classic traumas had ever darkened my door. But it turns out Granny was right. Life is inherently painful. And several generations of unshed tears eventually become a flood.” (32)

i get this push to right all the past wrongs in this life. i also get that going back is a way to understand the present and enact preventative measures for future hurt, whether or not we get to see them into fruition or not. i also know what it is to hit a brick wall when it comes to trying to get people to help you do this, whether people are just avoiding their own hurt or they’re occupying this paradoxical religious place that starts to look a lot like exclusion-it’s like living in quebec-people want to preserve their culture and fight for inclusion, by exclusion. tell me how that works-humans, why come we’re so wrong?

“The implication is that this was a loss, like losing your virginity to an asshole.” (228)

“This whole process is news to me. I have always assumed that I could reclaim my father’s Judaism when I wanted, like a lost suitcase at an airport security desk.” (28)

“Do people really change? Is it possible to start life anew?” (302)

both times she’s pregnant, she complains about what she cannot eat. i get that-there’s a selective little alien growing inside you and it’s restricting you from certain foods? it was an interesting parallel story of control of one’s body and actions when trying to pursue a very specific life program. i can also see how all these things happening at once would wreak havoc on one’s whole everything, so big ups for making it through, at least in the book.


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