Wise Blood

I've made a habit as of late of going to a certain comedy club. Usually I'm alone. This is never so awkward for me as it is for the person who is sitting beside me. As seats beside me sit empty, waiting to be filled, a person will approach me and ask if I'm saving any of the seats. "No," I reply. "None?" they ask. "None," I say.

After an exchange similar to this a couple weeks ago, a high school kid and his date took the seats next to me. After a few moments, the kid turned to me and said, "So. You like to go to these things alone?"

"I am dating one of the guys in the show," I said.

"Ahhh, I see. So how often do you come to the shows?"

"Usually at least once a weekend."

The show started and the boy and his date immediately asked me to point out which one was "mine." I pointed "mine" out. During the evening's performance, they would turn to me to ask me more questions: "Does he look at you like that?" (asked when he was playing a character who was in love with someone else and was giving that someone else loving looks); "Is he funny in real life?" No. Of course he isn't. He's actually quite boring. I only date him for the free tickets to his shows.

Last week, "mine" found me as I was coming into the club, and he seated me up near the front, introducing me as his girlfriend to some people he knew. When he left, a guy sitting in the row behind me leaned forward. "Is he in tonight's show?" he asked. I said that he was and the guy said, "Oh, good. Because he's my favorite." Turning to his date, he added, "He's the one I was telling you about."

I try to bring friends with me as often as I can, but usually, like I said, I go alone. The last two times I've gone, I have brought homework reading with me to keep me busy in line outside waiting to get in, and seated inside waiting for the show to start. Which brings me to my point. Last night, while sitting in the front row, waiting for the show to start, I finished Wise Blood, a book for one of my English classes.

It seemed an odd setting to finish the book. Loud music was blaring in the background. The guy beside me kept jostling me. One guy walked past me so quickly that the book was actually knocked out of my hands. And the book, although it claims to be a comedy, seemed actually quite somber. I am still unsure how I feel about the book on the whole. I know that I enjoyed it, because I didn't have any problem finishing it. This is in stark contrast to the last book I finished, Wicked, which I absolutely hated and which I would leave for months between readings. Like Wicked, I recognize that I didn't care about any of the characters in Wise Blood. I could have been just as happy whether they all died or all lived. I also think that I didn't like the story that much. And yet, like I mentioned, there was something I liked about it.

I'm starting to wonder if the only thing I liked about it was that it gave me a legitimate excuse not to do other homework and an excuse to not talk to the people surrounding me at the comedy club.


Brinestone said...

I feel the exact same way as you do about Wise Blood. I hated it, but I simultaneously feel sort of attached to it, protective of it. And I didn't hate it in the way one hates bad fiction; I hated it in the way one hates spiders or moldy leftovers in the fridge. I even wrote a poem about it once because I couldn't get it out of my head. So yeah, I think I understand.

thedisavowed said...

I feel the same way about Wise Blood. In fact, I still need to finish it. But I think it's more of a stylistic thing that I like about it. I just like how cruel her world is, as strange as that sounds.....

Hmmm... maybe I need to think about this a little more.. and finish it.. maybe then I'll have something more intelligent to offer.

I'm not proofreading this I hope it's OK SO HERE IT IS

The Divine Miss A said...

Flannery O'Connor always seems to leave me somewhere between depressed and intrigued. I haven't read Wise Blood and now I'm debating over whether or not I should. Is it worth it?

sakhmet said...

Wise Blood is hardly a comedy, but certainly one of the Best Books I've Ever Read. O'Connor is a master of the gothic and she manages to make it redemptive, even if it's stark and startling. Hazel Motes is one of my favorite, and I think one of the most sympathetic, characters in all of American lit. Oh! I adore that book. I adore the brilliant prose; I adore the way she subverts the thing she loves the most to show you wherein redemption lies. I think it's worth a lot more than just as a "don't talk to me prop," but I'm obviously a little more enthusiastic than the rest of this crew.

Cicada said...

Miss A: Well, I think that Sakhmet answered my question. And yes, I do believe it's worth reading. Also, it's a very quick read, so that is good, too.

amyjane said...

I'm in the middle of Wicked and HATING it. A lot. Which is sad, since I really love the musical and am going to see it this summer. My mother-in-law, however, loved the book and hated the play. Go figure.

Cicada said...

Yeah, I bought the book because I listened to the musical and thought it was clever and interesting. The book was not at all what I expected. I hated every character and I hated the whole story. Amyjane, my advice is to simply not read it. Seriously. It's not worth your time.

Th. said...


Les Mis is one of my favorite books and it took me three years to read it.

Most of that time it was gathering dust under my bed.

I don't know why.