I Read: “Why I’m Like This” by Cynthia Kaplan

There are a lot of books out there that I can relate to.

The Hours by Michael Cunningham resonates in a new way, every time I re-read it.

Pride and Prejudice is my “get me out of my reality” book.

The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx is my “life beyond my current reality is possible” book.

These aren’t ‘light’ reading. They’re not Dostoyevsky either, but they have a certain gravitas.

“Why I’m Like This” by Cynthia Kaplan is not heavy and it’s not fluff. It’s me.

Other than the chapter that focuses on her love for her grandmother (I didn’t really know either of mine), I felt a connection with Cynthia. She is me. I am her. Except I’m a gentile, but that’s just incidental to our humanity.

Her love for her son and the strain that emotion, and her episiotomy, put on her marriage resonated strongly with me. As did a line on page 62, referring to her 30th birthday dinner with a few friends: “The man whom I was vaguely dating stood me up, and I was forced to add another layer of false jollity on top of what was already a mille-feuille of pretense.” I love that line. I love people who admit that life isn’t always a barrel of monkeys and sometimes it just plain sucks.

Not inordinately popular, nor part of the pert and perky crowd, she lives her life. With all of the fears and falters in self confidence that I am fairly sure we all have at times, unless we are utterly fooling ourselves (and you know who you are).

When her son got very sick – pneumonia – and she described the fear she felt, I was there with her.

It’s a rare thing when someone can write about very real issues without any trace of malice or maudlin feelings. It’s a rare thing indeed. Thank you, Cynthia.


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