Cynical Hopeless Romantic Reads Pride and Prejudice

I’m escaping reality to read Pride and Prejudice. I need a substantial feel-good book. It’s what she deserves

(Scroll down for spoilery commentary as I go along)

  • First and foremost, the ultimate way to enjoy Pride and Prejudice: Jennifer Ehle reading it to you. Just close your eyes and let her serene voice guide your imagination. You can’t go wrong with her accessible bite-sized readings of two-three chapters per video. These sittings brought me that same nostalgic comfort of being read to by your favorite teacher in third-grade.
  • “She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me; I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”

oof, that never stops hurting.lizz

  • “He is just what a young man ought to be,” said she, “sensible, good-humoured, lively; and I never saw such happy manners!”

I wonder why it is that even with someone as kind as Mr. Bingley around, I still choose to favor Mr. Darcy. . .

  • “Mrs. Long told me last night that he sat close to her for half-an-hour without once opening his lips.”

Darcy is me at public gatherings

  • “Miss Bingley told me,” said Jane, “that he never speaks much, unless among his intimate acquaintances. With them he is remarkably agreeable.”

Darcy, representing introverts everywhere

  • “That is very true,” replied Elizabeth, “and I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.”

This line flows so nicely that I have to utter it along with the narrator

  • “Occupied in observing Mr. Bingley’s attentions to her sister, Elizabeth was far from suspecting that she was herself becoming an object of some interest in the eyes of his friend.”

Oh! It’s happening!

  • “But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying.”

Crushes develop slowly and then all at once. It’s like the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon of becoming ultra-aware of something/someone. You start seeing them in everything

  • “He began to wish to know more of her, and as a step towards conversing with her himself, attended to her conversation with others.”

In the movie, Darcy asking Elizabeth to dance seems to drop out nowhere, but now I see the attention to detail, like him slowly creeping near her to catch her eye

  • “Indeed, sir, I have not the least intention of dancing. I entreat you not to suppose that I moved this way in order to beg for a partner.”

Oh, I like this

  • “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony, in a moment.”

Only when it comes to Darcy

  • “If I wished to think slightingly of anybody’s children, it should not be of my own, however.”

Mrs. Bennet can be named a lot of things, but she’s a fierce mother, first and foremost.

  • “The former was divided between admiration of the brilliancy which exercise had given to her complexion, and doubt as to the occasion’s justifying her coming so far alone.”

Oh, finally! I was in dire need to know what was circling through Darcy’s mind upon Elizabeth’s arrivaldarcy

  • “I am afraid, Mr. Darcy,” observed Miss Bingley in a half whisper, “that this adventure has rather affected your admiration of her fine eyes.”
    “Not at all,” he replied; “they were brightened by the exercise.” ”

hmm, really. . . .elizabeth

  • “He immediately offered to fetch her others—all that his library afforded.
    “And I wish my collection were larger for your benefit and my own credit”

Bingley is the only respite in this room of elites

  • “What a delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr. Darcy!”
    “It ought to be good,” he replied, “it has been the work of many generations.”
    “And then you have added so much to it yourself, you are always buying books.”

Ha! Is bingley playing matchmaker for Darcy and Elizabeth?

  • “Is Miss Darcy much grown since the spring?” said Miss Bingley; “will she be as tall as I am?”
    “I think she will. She is now about Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s height, or rather taller.”

I see you, Mr. Darcy, dropping Elizabeth’s name in any conversation to catch her attentiongavin

  • “All this she must possess,” added Darcy, “and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.”

closes bookcloses book

  • “she had no wish of her recovering immediately, as her restoration to health would probably remove her from Netherfield.”

Interesting that this scene with Mrs. Bennet appears so soon after Darcy’s remark: “Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable.”

  • “I did not know before,” continued Bingley immediately, “that you were a studier of character. It must be an amusing study.”
    “Yes, but intricate characters are the most amusing. They have at least that advantage.”


Cue Darcy walking in

  • “But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away.”
    Darcy only smiled; and the general pause which ensued made Elizabeth tremble lest her mother should be exposing herself again.”

he. . . smiled!gavin

  • “But do you always write such charming long letters to her, Mr. Darcy?”
    “They are generally long; but whether always charming it is not for me to determine.”

men who actually care for their younger siblings>>>cute

  • “Nothing is more deceitful,” said Darcy, “than the appearance of humility. It is often only carelessness of opinion, and sometimes an indirect boast.”

The page that follows is the most Darcy has ever said

  • I was reading some chapters by myself utterly lost in the text. So I ran back to Jennifer Ehle’s narration and suddenly all confusion was cleared up. She’s p&p magic. She makes the text sound like a movie, never like a classic book that you were required to read. She even has a voice for each character so subtly done that you don’t even feel it till you pay notice. (I love her Lady Catherine voice.)
  • “Elizabeth could not help observing, as she turned over some music-books that lay on the instrument, how frequently Mr. Darcy’s eyes were fixed on her.”

Oh, we know. Let me refer you to:

  • “and Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. He really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger.”

You start the sentence with a smile and then end with one of these:shock

  • “As for your Elizabeth’s picture, you must not have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes?”
    “It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, but their colour and shape, and the eyelashes, so remarkably fine, might be copied.”

I feel this most acutely in this scene:beautiful eyes

And can we talk a minute about how Miss Bingley is such a Regina George here, thinking that teasing Darcy about Elizabeth will reduce his interest. Mentioning Elizabeth just makes him think about her more. And referring to Elizabeth jokingly as “your lady” will just make him think about her more in that way, Einstein.

  • Mr. Darcy felt their rudeness, and immediately said:
    “This walk is not wide enough for our party. We had better go into the avenue.”

He likes arguing with Elizabeth but also sticks up for her? Get you a man that can do both

  • “and she removed at his desire to the other side of the fireplace, that she might be further from the door. He then sat down by her, and talked scarcely to anyone else.”

Jane and Bingley are unparalleledtaste

  • “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”

I can’t believe this brilliant piece was delivered by Miss Bingley, of all people, in an attempt to impress a clueless Darcy. I do feel rather impartial to her in those moments when she’s trying so hard to be in his favor and he pays her no mind. I guess that’s one theme that survives the ages.

  • “Miss Bingley succeeded no less in the real object of her civility; Mr. Darcy looked up. He was as much awake to the novelty of attention in that quarter as Elizabeth herself could be, and unconsciously closed his book.”

when closes book makes a comeback… it’s serious

  • “if the first, I would be completely in your way, and if the second, I can admire you much better as I sit by the fire.”

I can just imagine his smug smile…

  • “My good opinion once lost is lost forever.”

I can hear the echo of Matthew Macfadyen’s voice in P&P 2005

  • “He began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention.”

it's about the yearning

  • “Mr. Darcy looked a little ashamed of his aunt’s ill-breeding, and made no answer.”

darcy x eI have to laugh at that! This mirrors the very image of Lizzy’s reaction at the ball when her mother, sitting right across from darcy, was boasting of the advantageous marriage pertaining to Jane and Mr. Bingley.

  • “she thought he looked a little confused as he answered that he had never been so fortunate as to meet Miss Bennet.”

and yet you appear to have separated them. In truth, I didn’t realize how much we could circle back to that conversation on humility and friendship. Bingley is influenced easily this way or that. It was foreshadowing! Like Darcy said if someone told you to stay a week you would without inquiring the reasons for and against! so the same with the jane situation. darcy advised against it and he didn’t think about it and was easily persuaded against her. darcy just said that he has an inkling that jane wasn’t as fully invested as jane and he didn’t inquire further he just cut his losses then and there without offering a pensive thought into it.

here is the original passage: “Allowing the case, however, to stand according to your representation, you must remember, Miss Bennet, that the friend who is supposed to desire his return to the house, and the delay of his plan, has merely desired it, asked it without offering one argument in favour of its propriety.”

I didn’t realize then that Darcy speaking at length for the first time would lead to being such a substantial moment that reverberates along the novel. Of course, it would.

  • “She had once or twice suggested to Elizabeth the possibility of his being partial to her, but Elizabeth always laughed at the idea;”

Twice now that Charlotte – who I now have to refer to as Mrs. Collins, what a shock -has been dismissed when her observations are utterly right. First, how jane’s impassiveness might work against her with Mr Bingley. And now, how Darcy is partial to Elizabeth. Charlotte is very aware of her surroundings. She’s no fool.

  • The Big Scene™ arrives, finally. All I’ve been waiting for since the start of the book. It’s my aesthetic:

If anything, I like seeing this first proposal, which is pompous and all about how he has struggled “in vain,” if only to know what the second proposal awaits. He will be much kinder. The second proposal will be about doing him the honor of becoming his wife. Instead of this moment where he’s like, it’ll be your honor not mine. He’s quite full of himself. Neither I nor Elizabeth appreciate it.

  • “I have been walking in the grove some time in the hope of meeting you. Will you do me the honour of reading that letter?”

I’m glad he didn’t wait too long to deliver his letter of explanation. It’s better to give it before she’s simmering in her disdain of him. Also, him thinking over their argument enough to write a letter is already a change for the better. Warning: An important distinction to make here is that Elizabeth doesn’t go into a relationship with Darcy hoping to change his bitter ways. He changes himself for the better first and then presents himself to her in the hopes of being accepted.

  • I can’t decide what’s sweeter: Mr. Wicked– ahem, I mean, Mr. Wickham getting exposed by Darcy. Or that fiery back-and-forth that Elizabeth spewed at Darcy… We’ve already discussed the latter. So let’s focus on the fall of Mr. Wicked Wickham.

“She tried to recollect some instance of goodness, some distinguished trait of integrity or benevolence, that might rescue him from the attacks of Mr. Darcy; or at least, by the predominance of virtue, atone for those casual errors under which she would endeavour to class what Mr. Darcy had described as the idleness and vice of many years’ continuance. But no such recollection befriended her.”

And this right here illustrates why it’s important when you “love” someone to know exactly the reasons behind it. So that when you’re offered a sudden twist to their character, you are able to recall those moments of kindness or goodness that made you fall in “love.” Otherwise, you were simply deceived by your feelings into thinking him the same man you made up in your head. Thank you, Jane Austen, for explaining it so fully.

“She perfectly remembered everything that had passed in conversation between Wickham and herself, in their first evening at Mr. Phillips’s. Many of his expressions were still fresh in her memory. She was now struck with the impropriety of such communications to a stranger, and wondered it had escaped her before.”

This says it all!! However exciting it may be to be approached so suddenly by a handsome man, the fact is that Mr. Wickham is a stranger to Elizabeth at that moment. If he’s so eager and willing to approach her, a stranger, then he might feel safe to do the same to another stranger even when they’re together.

This moment of discovery might be more worthwhile than reading Darcy’s professions of love. To suddenly look at someone without those rose-colored glasses creates a full 180 effect. I live for rare moments like these.

  • And this is how her good opinion on Darcy starts: with his love letter. Rereading it over and over. Imagining him speculating over what to write. Feeling his feelings.

“She studied every sentence; and her feelings towards its writer were at times widely different.”

  • If we’re being frank, I relied heavily on Darcy’s back-and-forth with Elizabeth, and of course, Bingley’s kindness with Jane. Without it, the book went by excruciatingly slow. I don’t care for Mr. Collins or Mrs. Bennet, or the extravagant house tours, dinner parties, and garden walks. Really, all I was seeking was more Darcy. Unfortunately, he was given to us only near the end.

Coming into this after reading New Moon (we all remember the pain with that one, my review title gives it all away: New Moon Gave Me Trust Issues), I was just done with having to wait for the love interest to grace us with his appearance. I didn’t have any patience left. However, unlike the Twilight book, Pride and Prejudice made the wait feel worthwhile. Seeing Darcy’s change of character was everything I needed.

  • I just have to say, it is so wonderful reading Pride and Prejudice when I’m simply basking in the glory that the hardships between Darcy and Elizabeth are left behind us. They’re actually enjoying each other’s company now! and they’re talking and blushing! blushing! ! !
“Of the lady’s sensations they remained a little in doubt; but that the gentleman was overflowing with admiration was evident enough.”
Oh, you can tell by that loving smile.

Let’s roll with the momentum so that I can share some of my favorite Darcy moments:

  • “They were confined for the evening at different tables, and she had nothing to hope, but that his eyes were so often turned towards her side of the room, as to make him play as unsuccessfully as herself.”

The tension! ! ! This is felt throughout the book. We’re so close yet so far away. . . . chris

It’s never about the grand proclamations of love for me, rather the subtle moments that lead to those big moments, like Darcy staying with Elizabeth when she’s distressed over family news, or keeping his promise of taking her uncle fishing, and of course, wanting to introduce his two favorite women to each other: his sister, Miss Darcy, and Elizabeth. And the simple fact of him awaiting to accompany her on her walks just to spent time aimlessly wandering together.

But the most romantic scene of all lives in this moment:

“If you will thank me,” he replied, “let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you.”

He did it… for her! And then all it took for him to propose a second time is for her to just talk to him after all this time spent staring from afar. And I’m glad for it. We don’t have time to waste when it comes to these two. Oh, help, I sound like Mrs. Bennet.

Hearing this all play out with Your Hands Are Cold in the background is all I need.

To add to that, the true hilarity of what finally brings them together doesn’t escape me: Lady Catherine, of all people. She riled up Elizabeth. The two unite at last to ridicule her ladyship.

“Lady Catherine has been of infinite use, which ought to make her happy, for she loves to be of use. ”

It’s interesting that with these two introverts in love there must always be one to speak up to break their introverted ways. In our case it’s Elizabeth. Thankfully.

“You might have talked to me more when you came to dinner.”
“A man who had felt less, might.”
“How unlucky that you should have a reasonable answer to give, and that I should be so reasonable as to admit it! But I wonder how long you would have gone on, if you had been left to yourself. I wonder when you would have spoken, if I had not asked you!”

  • Also, the elephant in the room: Lydia Bennet, or rather Mrs. Wickham, is something else entirely. I feel like Lizzy’s speech for Darcy’s “selfish disdain of the feelings of others” is better reserved for Lydia. You can tell her age by her ideas of marriage. She sees it as nothing more than a game!

“She longed to see Mrs. Phillips, the Lucases, and all their other neighbours, and to hear herself called “Mrs. Wickham” by each of them; and in the mean time, she went after dinner to show her ring, and boast of being married, to Mrs. Hill and the two housemaids.”

She has no implication of what marriage entails and what it possesses other than showing off your ring, which won’t be so shiny in a year’s time.

“I am sure my sisters must all envy me. I only hope they may have half my good luck. ”

This says it all. Lydia wanted to win the game of “Who will marry first?” Wait and see the glorious men your sisters will marry… Her adoration for Wickham won’t last long in comparison.

“But you know married women have never much time for writing. My sisters may write to 𝘮𝘦. They will have nothing else to do.”

um, chile… anywaysnicki m

  • Let us end on a good note in praise of a most beloved family member: Mrs. Gardiner.

“It originated in Mrs. Gardiner, who, fatigued by the exercise of the morning, found Elizabeth’s arm inadequate to her support, and consequently preferred her husband’s. Mr. Darcy took her place by her niece, and they walked on together.”

Meet the original wing-woman of the 1800s:

mrs g

Ah! Speaking of the movie, I did post my immediate thoughts upon first viewing the 2005 adaptation. I titled it appropriately: You Have Bewitched Me Body and Soul, Mr. Darcy.

In need of more Jane Austen love? Scroll through my twitter thread below for more in-detail live-tweets as I was reading:

Thankfully, there are many gorgeous Pride and Prejudice editions to peruse. Choose your fighter:

Let me know if I did anyone’s English homework with this thread. Ha!

Uncovering History Through Fiction: My Book(Spoilery) Review of Day After Night by Anita Diamant

I was in an absolute state of glee upon randomly opening up this book to its phenomenal epigraph:Day After Night rebbe nachman- bookspoils

This exact phrase is one my mom reads to my sister and I every Shabbat; we know and recite it by heart. I always craved to see it written somewhere as an opening quote, so this was like a personal wish coming true.

I started the first chapter with the tiniest of hesitation. I was thinking back on how impressed I was by the epigraph, and even the prologue captivated me, so surely the first chapter will be the hindrance. But as I read on, it’s to uncover an enchanting storyteller in Anita Diamant. It’s reading a book, knowing that you surely won’t regret doing so. It’s ending a chapter only to want more. This is an author who knows the power her writing holds and how to wield her magic pen. What a journey this book took me on.

Day After Night is based on the extraordinary true story of the October 1945 rescue of more than 200 prisoners from the Atlit internment camp – a prison for illegal immigrants run by the British military near the Mediterranean coast north of Haifa. The story is told through the eyes of four young women at the camp.

It’s the first book in a while that made me excited to read it during the week, stealing time here and there to dive in, instead of settling for a binge-read on Shabbat. Something about that epigraph and that masterful character building on the very first page (pictured below) made me stand still and reappraise what I was getting into. Day After Night- bookspoilsRounded characterization on page one means: nightmares we can only imagine. They hold so much sorrow in their young lives already. The “military-issue pillows that smell of disinfectant” that are the bare-minimum when compared to what they had growing up, but after all they’ve been through it’s a luxury. Set against the unmoving background of Atlit’s Detainee Camp ruled by the British military, this is a part in European Jewish history I personally hadn’t known of before.

“Everyone who is locked up in Atlit waits for an answer to the same questions: When will I get out of here? When will the past be over?”

I like reading historical fiction for the simple act of being educated on a topic completely unheard of before through a story. It humanizes history and makes me remember details long afterward. Like with Sarit Yishai-Levi’s The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem, which delivered both on the historic events of those that tried to detain Jews from coming into Israel, as well as the many romances that still have me worked up. So much of the time period before the founding of the state of Israel holds me enthralled. I recently watched the 2017 film An Israeli Love Story that tackled similar issues in that time frame while residing on the kibbutz.

Following four young women, Day After Night starts with introspective and self-aware Tedi Pastore, who craves nothing more than to assimilate and forget all her horrible memories as soon as her brain lets up, though those memories will sneak up on you as soon as you let your defenses down. My heart connected to her instantly with her quiet nature and this brilliant phrase:

“She wondered if she could fill her head with enough Hebrew to crowd out her native Dutch.”

Yes; though when Dutch peaks its way back into your life down the road (sooner than you’d like), it’ll come flooding back. I feel this so deeply.

We leave her to follow Zorah Weitz, who’s quite the opposite with her scorn and quiet rage at her surroundings. So much of her anger is just, obviously, but because we arrive into her chapter coming from Tedi’s point of view, it became quite jarring to experience such a different tough-to-crack perspective. It became interesting to see how the author would weave their stories together to make Zorah a more multidimensional character. I never doubted for a minute that she wouldn’t succeed. Any author that can character build on the very first page of the first chapter has my full trust.

“She knew they were reluctant to tell their own stories because all of them began and ended with the same horrible question: Why was I spared?”

And Shayndel and Leonie whose specialties include daydreaming and people-watching. They invent stories in their head to escape from their current reality and remain sane under the heinous circumstances thrown their way. They grow close and cling onto each other as people that go through wartime experiences only can.

It’s interesting then to connect and reflect on their stories of coming to Israel to my own Aliyah and how I was more of a Zorah at the very beginning (this realization occurred while writing made me far more forgiving when reading her harsh words after): I felt so helpless with my surroundings and how these circumstances I was in weren’t even of my choice. There was just so much (too much) anger pent-up that I feel so sorry looking back to ten-year-old me. And so came the gradual change of coming to terms with your reality and quietly turning into a Tedi with wanting to forget as quickly as possible all the good and the bad on the tail end. I have the hardest time remembering stuff from the past now, which is why I’m so particular with writing everything down as soon as I complete reading or watching or listening anything.

“It was unspeakable, so they spoke of nothing.”

It makes for an interesting phenomenon when shedding those layers of European culture and reconnecting back to your own Jewish roots. It’s a loss of a comfortable layer and the growth of one that’s been waiting for generations. It’s realizing that the “loss” of your mother tongue isn’t your real mother tongue. The culture of “cold politeness” you’ve become accustomed to isn’t where your heart belongs (“leaving behind the whole poisoned graveyard that was Europe”). The warm connection between the people in our own homeland is one that cannot be replicated.

I felt this distinctly in the piercing moment when all the characters come together to light the candles and say the blessing for Rosh Hashanah, after years and years of hell on earth. The quiet strength echoed throughout this scene felt so real I could almost reach out and grasp it.

“Anschel lifted a cup above his head and glared around the room, waiting for others to do the same. Around each table, the men eyed each other and silently determined which one would stand for the blessing. As they raised their cups, he began, “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe.” The piercing nasal drone of his voice held everyone in thrall at first, but then others joined, creating a baritone jumble of melodies and accents that conjured a congregation of absent fathers and grandfathers. Tears flowed as the goblets were emptied, but Tirzah gave them no time to mourn, banging the door open wide with a tray piled with golden loaves of challah. She was greeted with applause and chatter, which continued through the brief blessing for bread, which was passed and devoured.”

Something slipped over me in reading this that I couldn’t shake off. We’re alive. Our people lived through this hell and multiple others to make it to Israel. I won’t forget.

The one thing that remains alive in that moment is reciting the passages of the past, the same words they heard countless times before the war, only to quietly realize that here they are repeating it in the heart of Israel. Our prayers as a nation are the only thing keeping the past alive and our hope ablaze in the future.

And as much as Zorah resents these moments that bring on memories long repressed, I can only think of this truthful passage from David Bezmozgis’s Natasha and Other Stories“So what am I supposed to do, let the bastards win? Because who wins if a Jew doesn’t go to synagogue? I’ll tell you who: Hitler.”

With each new description in the book, I stop cold at how masterfully Anita Diamant constructs her characters. I personally enjoy exploring little individual moments that make up somebody’s life, and reading about the day-to-day in that unmoored timeline of 1945 through this group of lost individuals is riveting to revisit.

“It seemed impossible that these could be the same stars she had looked up at six months ago, impossible that she was seeing them through the same eyes.”

This had the potential to be a new favorite with all the elements I love in one: Jewish-Israeli characters, survivors arriving in Israel after the Holocaust which is rarely explored, the prime time of Zionism, and displacement. Day After Night operates on so many levels.

Plus, I’m a known fool for the name Noah (read: My Appreciation For the Name Noah in Old Men at Midnight by Chaim Potok), so Shayndel’s brother piqued my interest… Only to be crushed in this brutal reality of Polish antisemitism and pogroms. Lest anyone forget:

“The Poles had been just as monstrous as the Germans. The Nazis did not require her neighbors to spit on her family the day they were taken away. They had spit again when she returned, after the war, to see if anyone else had survived.”

The sad reality is that the Poles are already trying to erase history by making themselves seen as innocent and blame it all on the German Nazis. History will never fully wrap all the horrors and pogroms they inflicted upon the Jews.

On another note, here are some points I want to highlight:

  • The few hints of romance in here I came to appreciate because sometimes it’s a necessary component in feeling alive, feeling seen. This book drew the important distinction between realizing whether your feelings are for that particular individual and simply for the rush of hormones they provide. This phrase puts the idea together well:

“I guess I wanted to be in love with someone. But not him.”

This explains so much on settling for the wrong guy. And how we look into book-romances to project our own desires on the particular couple to get together. We seek that intoxicating rush of feeling without actually doing something that can hurt like being close with another human. It’s predictable, safe, and follows a script, unlike real life.

  • Throw all that away when it comes to Meyer Meyer Meyer, the boy who brings Zorah back from the brink of cynicism. I hung onto his every word. Something about his air of kind honesty left me laser focused on the task at hand: Seeing him interact with Zorah. Their dynamic was so full of promise. He’s the kind-hearted soldier with a sharing packet of Chesterfields, and she’s the rugged girl that loves to say no. I thought at first that the author was pulling us along with an exquisitely outdrawn slow-burn, and it did work at first because I nearly jumped like a cat when he finally arrived in a scene with Zorah after way too long.

“I never heard you sing before,” said a familiar voice at her ear.
Zorah did not turn around. Meyer moved closer and asked, “Did you miss me?”
“Only when I was dying for a smoke,” she said.
“I thought about you all the time,” said Meyer.”

Likewise. Also: why did this make my heart skip a beat?

“I wish I could send you cigarettes,” Meyer said, slipping a packet into her hand. “But they would only get stolen. Still, whenever you get a letter, you should know that I was thinking about sending a whole carton of Chesterfields. I am a romantic, right?”
Zorah fought the urge to face him, to wish him well, to say good-bye.
“Pray a little for my safety, will you, Zorah?” said Meyer. “I will kiss you good night wherever I am.”
Zorah heard him walk away and counted to thirty before she turned. He had reached the gate. Without turning or looking back, he raised his hand to wave. As though he knew she would be watching.”

He’s so damn charismatic.

You know Zorah has it bad when she starts talking to herself in his voice. “Worthy opponent or suitor?” I personally really enjoy seeing this switch happen in books like I mentioned in my review for The Great Alone. There’s something so powerful when you start viewing a person in a different light.

But I guess the author had other things in mind when it came to Meyer, since I can count on one hand the number of times he showed up after, and then never again till the epilogue that I’m not ready to discuss.. (I’m still in the stage of denial, as evidenced by my refusal to even write it down). And I’m too stubborn to let something as powerful as Zorah with Meyer dissipate simply like that. I wanted to see them T A L K deep into the night and share secrets and grow old together… And I got none of that.

  • Speaking of loose ends, there are so many that my mind is busy thinking over… What happens with Tirzah and Danny? Did the group of four ever reunite? WHAT ABOUT THE PICTURE?? Who’s the lucky man that married Shayndel? What happened to Lillian aka the running gag of the book with being put in her place by multiple people?

Like a movie, it ends on a group snapshot of the four young women that made this book shine with tiny inscriptions telling us where they all ended up. The epilogue really made the story feel so vividly real that I was tempted to look up the names of the characters, knowing full well that even if they were based on real woman their full names wouldn’t have been used… I JUST NEED THE PICTURE. I tried hunting for it on my own with zero results. The descriptions of it in the book feels too real. It’s these telling signs that tell the whole story of Day After Night. Like Shayndel and Leonie standing so close together in the photograph led the author to chronicle a close friendship in her mind. And the details of their matching white outfits in that shot then rings similarity in the story when people thought them to be the same even though on the outside they were opposites.

“Leonie and Shayndel grinned at each other, knowing these same girls sometimes called them “peas in a pod” and “the Siamese twins” even though they were a pair of contrasts, too.”

Taking notice of these telltale signs made me feel like a tiny Sherlock. First came the picture, then the story. And now I’m pretty desperate to uncover what came first. Does the picture even exist?

I’d had hoped to see them thrive after Atlit, but since it’s so real the end sequence bears too many loses to feel like closure. The epilogue in itself should’ve been more elaborated on, instead of dropping new information that I have no idea how to take in since the book is already over. All I can say is Tedi deserved to have seen that picture.

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Historic Female Friends in Bosom Buddies by Violet Zhang, Sally Nixon (Illustrator)

Featuring 25 remarkable and inspiring female friendships throughout history, Bosom Buddies is an illustrated celebration of these empowering relationships between women. From the formidable Trung Sisters and friendly rivals Katherine Mansfield and Virginia Woolf to powerhouse partners Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, writer Violet Zhang captures the love, challenges, encouragement, and adulation of female friendships across time. With winsome illustrations from illustrator Sally Nixon, Bosom Buddies is a tribute to gal pals everywhere. Great as a Galentine’s Day gift or to share with your best girlfriend, just because.

Bosom Buddies arrived in the mail as a saving grace for the coming Shabbat, since I didn’t have anything left to read (save for dipping in and out of my worn copy of Fangirl) with my local library going through renovations.

Also perfect timing for this book, on female friendships through the ages, to land in my hands, considering the movie I recently watched that expresses the tiny nuances of a friendship between Marlo and Tully, which I rave all about in my film review for Tully here.

The first thing I noticed upon picking up Bosom Buddies is the effort put into producing the book: the feel of the paper in your hands as you flip from page to page and the clear jacket bounding it make for timeless pieces. And I’m just grateful such a neat concept exists in the book world.

I do want to note that at the very start of my reading experience, the entries of the female friends come across a bit Wikipedia-esque, but since they were so quick to go through, I overlooked this tiny hindrance. The essays did provide many unknowns with a prompt speed.

However, since this is about the grandiosity of friendship, which is so personal, I would’ve enjoyed that aspect to be expanded by offering more intimate tales, like an inside joke or an experience the women shared together; something I couldn’t find on my own through googling their names. I wanted someone to write about them through extensive research so that I wouldn’t have to do it on my own.

I did then appreciate the end of each essay giving voice to the women by sharing their quotes. Though it sometimes felt like the entry beforehand and the quote shared after had no shared correlation.

So I was also glad to see that the more I read on, the more my requests were being answered. Featuring remarkable girlships such as:

  • Virginia Woolf & Katherine Mansfield (1910s)
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  • Oprah Winfrey & Gayle King (1970s)Bosom Buddies bookspoils 3
  • Amy Poehler & Tina Fey (1990s)Bosom Buddies bookspoils 1
  • Ilana Glazer & Abbi Jacobson (2000s)Bosom Buddies bookspoils 4Screen Shot 2018-02-28 at 09.46.55

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Expected publication: August 14, 2018

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