Sunday Book Club: Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe

Guys, good news, my really awful/unqualified book reviews are back because so I am and this one will be no less terrible because I really am not sure what a good book review entails. (But just on the subject now that I’m thinking about it, I remember we had to write a book review in sophomore year of high school and then I remembered Ms. Papamichael who was my sophomore English teacher and then I remembered I saw her at the mall once and I wanted to say hi but it’s been years and I hope I look a little more grown up/how weird is that to see your teacher and they ask you what you’re doing at the mall and you’re like “ha this is my life now I am going nowhere” so I awkwardly walked passed her with a bag of pretzel bites in my hand.)

I’ve read this puppy a few times now (three) and it’s weird because I didn’t think I’d like it at first, but I really did. I first read it in one of my college lit classes at my community college and the professor was just really on point with his teaching style (shout out to Prof. Goodell wherever you are) that he could’ve made me read anything and I would’ve applauded it (EXCEPT Heart of Darkness, which he did make me read and I will just never be ok with that Conrad guy). Ok, but that last statement definitely does not mean that I don’t love this book because I already said that I do please get off my back, you guys. As much as I liked the book as a whole, I didn’t really love Okonkwo. I loved Okonkwo’s interactions with the other members of his village and I loved the situations that Achebe placed Okonkwo in, but I don’t know if I necessarily loved Okonkwo himself. (The only situation I didn’t love was when they were taking Ikemefuna out to be killed and Okonkwo helped, I was so mad how could you do that, Okonkwo? How could you do that to Ikemefuna and me?) I thought the other characters were strong in the purpose they served and I think Okonkwo was strong in the purpose he served. Ikemefuna’s juxtaposition with Nwoye. (Pause, I think I wrote this sentence just to tell you about this one time a customer came into the store and ordered something online and the name on his credit card was Ikemefuna and I nearly lost it.) Okonkwo’s love for his daughter Enzima. The slight differences between character and atmosphere between the two villages. I think it’s all very great and very strong.

I actually read it again during my Modernism Seminar my last year of undergrad. Exploring this idea of humanization–dehumanization and how someone can reverse the cycle. And what a great book to use with his stark contrast to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. (Yes, I purposely read Heart of Darkness for the third time that year, what’s wrong with me, I know.) Conrad travels deep into the heart of the Congo and, through the eyes of a European colonizer, discusses the process and environment and the people. The process is brutal; the environment otherworldly; the people inhuman. The Congo is a creepy place after you read Heart of Darkness, ok. So good work creeping us all out, Joe, but not good work at everything else. (Also, I know you had nothing to do with it, Joe, but the movie was not great at all.) Achebe on the other side takes the story to the other side. Conrad spends most of his time on the actual colonization of the Congo and it’s people, but Achebe seems to take a different approach. We only see the Europeans very late in the book. He takes us through the life of these people through the journey of one man. A culture, a civilization. He brings life back to Africa. Brings life back to it’s people.

(I’d obviously post my entire senior paper up on this bad boy but that would be really very obnoxious so I won’t do that. Well, maybe not all of it. And maybe another time. Also, I’m bad at this.)

2015: Easily Distracted

If you’re thinking that this is going to be another whiny post about me not having any idea what I’m doing with my life and being a terrible human being, then yes, you are thinking correctly. I’ve been meaning to write a summary post about 2014 (like I did that one year for 2013) since basically 2014 and here I am. (I hope I didn’t write a 2014 summary post or else this is going to be so embarrassing, I kind of want to check, but kind of just want to hope for the best and pretend that I know myself really well.)

Life has been dull and I guess that’s partly (mostly) my fault. As the subject line suggests, I let myself get really distracted really easily really often. I also am really good at making excuses for myself which is really not good in the long run. Work is good and I’ve really been enjoying working at PacSun and at the store I’m currently at. I’ve been having a good time with my coworkers and getting to know them on a more personal level. I like the idea of continuing to grow with this company and moving up in this company and working for this company for maybe years to come. (Yikes?) It’s not that I don’t enjoy what I’m doing with my time like many people suggest. I like my job and that’s probably the first time I can honestly say that in a long time. The problem with it is that I let that job consume my life. Which, ok, I get that it isn’t a bad thing, but at the moment, in this exact position I’m in, I don’t feel like it’s my life. Maybe in the future I’ll be able to make a career out of working at PacSun, but being an assistant manager in the middle of nowhere New York is not where I see myself ending up and I think a lot of people should be able to gather that from ALL THE OTHER POSTS I WRITE ABOUT MY LIFE. (Drama and flair.) So, I just feel like I’ve gotten sidetracked (distracted) and have been putting off all the other things that I’ve always wanted to do with my life. (All the other things refers to the other thing which refers to writing. There’s really not much else that I want to do with my life tbh. [A necessary acronym.])

That was obviously me complaining, but this is something that I don’t think I’ve ever done (I’ve probably done it): I’m finally going to take full responsibility for what I’ve been neglecting. I’m not going to blame my varying work schedule. I’m not going to blame the amount of time I spend at work each day/week. I’m not going to blame the fact that I feel tired. I’m blaming myself because ultimately I have the choice when I get home from work what I do with the time that I’m not at the mall. And as much as I love coming home, eating a bagel and watching “Friday Night Lights” on someone else’s Netflix account, I know that I can’t keep doing it as a routine like this. The occasional binge is ok, I know, but the every night binge as I neglect my book lists and my pen pals and myself via journal writing just hasn’t been cutting it. I’ve been feeling the neglect in my bones. Everyday I mope around my house acting like the world is out to get me. That the mall is ruining my life. That the weather hates my mood. (I think the last one is really true, though, and you guys can probably agree. Like, the cold weather just destroys all happinesses.) I’ve been subconsciously doing this to myself. Subconsciously putting myself through this unnecessary funk and I think it’s about time that I get myself out of it. (Go me, high five, jump freeze frame, yeah!)

(Also, I just may have read some of my older posts and dear goodness, I do this way more often than I ever thought I would and I am so sorry for that and it’ll stop right after I hit “publish” because I promise this time it’ll stick.)

I feel like I had way more to say but now I can’t think of anything which is sad.

I guess I’ll try to conclude this post on a better note than that last one and say that I’m really just ready to start taking ownership of my life and where it ends up next. I’m ready to pay off my school loans and apply to grad school. Ready to put together a portfolio. Ready to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. I’m ready to put myself out there even if I get kicked in the face for it (violent, I don’t know why, I felt like there’s an expression that says something along those lines but maybe not). I’m ready to take charge. To move on. To adventure. To become the me I’ve always imagined I could be.

(Really hating that I’m finishing this post with a rhyme but I really just can’t find anything else to say that would better conclude these thoughts.)

Update: I did write a 2014 summary post oh my goodness I am so bad I don’t even know myself anymore.