Yes, I know January 1 isn’t for ten more days, but the only way I can stick to this New Year’s resolution is if I start early. Have you ever perused your bookshelf and saw a book you no longer recall anything about? Or has a friend ever mentioned this title that you do remember reading, only to end up in the dusty recesses of memory? I have, and it’s something I set out to change this 2011.
Gone be the days of head-scratching upon mention of forgotten reads. And so I’ll scribble my musings in a book journal as I bite, gnaw and digest each literary goodie I sink my eyes into.
Today, I’m off to a great start with Maynard and Jennica by Rudolph Delson. The price tag on the book cover (this is my one complaint against Booksale. They defile their own merchandise by sometimes writing tally marks on the text blocks, and always sticking the price tag to the front panel. But I digress) reads 05-10-10, which means I must have bought it sometime last May. Lo and behold, I only started reading it on Monday night. It is now Wednesday afternoon and I find myself on page 164 of 300, finished with 3 of its 5 chapters.
Thus far, reading the book has been a blast! It’s not your run-of-the-mill narrative, but a smorgasbord of vignettes that spin together the lives and hearts of Maynard Gogarty and Jennica Green. There are at least 35 different narrators in the book, ranging from the couple to their friends and family, strangers, animals and “one EMERGENCY BRAKE on a certain no. 6 train.”
The titular characters are among the most eccentric I’ve encountered in fiction. But I love them not only because they’re outrageous, but especially because I see slivers of them in the people I know, and vice versa. That, and the fact that that the story is set in New York (a place that’s quite a character in itself, I have come to understand), where I hope to find myself in the near future, if only for graduate studies.
Maynard is a multi-hyphenated, highfalutin nit-picker, learned and cultured but socially awkward. Jennica is a California girl with big-city dreams and a penchant for drama, forever hesitant but easily excitable. When these two cross paths in the New York subway, one of them is turned off and they don’t fall in love, naturally. But because a) last time I checked, this is a love story and b) their names are joined in the title (and what could be a more obvious clue than that), they meet again under better circumstances, and fall in love. Naturally.
More than being a fluffy boy-meets-girl with cheese oozing from the edges (which, I must stress, it is not), the plot weaves the stories of two peculiar people through the watchful eyes, nosy ears and wagging tongues of those who watched them grow. More than halfway through the book, I know enough about Maynard and Jennica’s pasts to understand their present, and have informed guesses of where they’re headed in the future. But like any patchwork left unfinished, I won’t rest till this is left unread. And as the threads of Maynard and Jennica get more and more intertwined, the sucker for romance in me wishes that all does not unravel in the end.