Monday, October 3, 2011

Lonely vs. alone

Book: The Late Bloomer’s Revolution

Author: Amy Cohen

Published: 2007 (Hyperion)

Pages: 288

Lonely and alone aren’t the same thing. I think people confuse them too much, especially in artistic depictions of normal life. People are social animals, right? So we’re all miserable when we have no one else around us, so for happy endings everyone has to be paired up with his or her sex of choice. Yes?

No, not really. Amy Cohen finally realizes that, and she made me cry while going through her process.

Really, it’s your standard woman-discovers-herself-through-dating-way-past-when-she-thought-she-would-be-settled-down arc, thrown together with learning how to ride a bike at age 35 and being okay when her fiancé left her because he didn’t want kids.

That was the ending. Her fiancé went to live on the opposite coast without her after she gave him an ultimatum: go and live without her or stay in New York with her. And it didn’t destroy her, and I wanted to shout this ending in Hollywood’s direction so maybe they’d get a good idea or two. Woman discovers hard but necessary decision actually makes her grow! Yes!

Her book made me cry because it made me think about what being lonely really means. It’s not something that can just magically go away with the addition of another warm body; she was loneliest when she was trying to make connections work with the wrong people. And that is just an awful feeling, this giant black hole that opens up in time and swallows everything until you’re exhausted and bored and have no idea what to do next so you don’t do anything, which makes it worse.

Cohen’s a writer good at setting up empathy by simply telling her story. She’s also wearing a tank top, jeans, and Converse in her author photo, so I feel like we’d get along. That means she’s done her job right.    

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