Spoiled Children of Divorce

The World’s Room, Names Will Never Hurt Me
December 9, 2007, 12:23 am
Filed under: Books, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

I opened up the car door yesterday and some stuff fell out and I think I drove off and left the book and my new mittens on the ground in a parking lot somewhere. Kitten’s lost her Mittens and her new book. The book was The World’s Room by Todd London. Boo hoo. It actually rarely bothers me not to know the endings of books. I rarely read Thrillers or Romances so it doesn’t really matter. My brother used to get really angry when we were kids because I would walk away from the TV in the middle of a movie. I’m sure that’s diagnosable behavior now but truth is I just don’t really care what happens most of the time. I think I told my brother that it was pointless to watch a movie because the hero always wins. My brother felt challenged by this and now has developed a supersensory ability to predict the endings of movies by the time they are 1/3 of the way through. And it’s not the 50s anymore and the Hero doesn’t always win in modern movies so this is a really amazing skill. My brother’s sort of no fun to go to the movies with, though.

The story for the The World’s Room is really great. It’s another Emerald Flash tale about crazy Mommy who drags the kids out to California for fun and amusement and is told from the point of view of the 13 or 14 year old youngest Son. There’s a great description of the one-eyed Father who has is blind-sided by his wife’s behavior and subsequently drops out of the picture leaving the kids to keep Mom going. There’s a description of living with a mentally ill, divorced Mother who disappears for a week at a time leaving the kids to keep themselves going. Then there’s the story of the older brother who commits suicide, either from his own mental illness or from the stress of the situation. Most likely from both.

The book starts out talking about how the narrator assumes his older brother’s name after the brother’s death. You never learn his own name. You just learn that he didn’t mean as much to his mother as his older brother, probably because he doesn’t share the mentality.

This No-Name theme seems to repeat in stories of kids who grow up in families about the name. A name is one’s identity and authors continually use this device to show that the kids seem to lose theirs during their parent’s divorce. The narrator in Important Things That Don’t Matter by David Amsden was also nameless. There are some other examples that I’ve gone blank on as well.

This makes sense. When adults divorce they spend a few years readjusting their own identities as single people and then often again as remarried people. If the kid has problems he goes to therapy. This isn’t what the kids needs. The kid needs to develop his own life, not redevelop his parents’ lives. Certainly it’s a waste of energy to try to redevelop as a member of a family. I remember my step-sister changed her name and this seemed to help her develop an identity of her own that was not birth-given since her birth-given name was so tarnished with bad memories anyway. She also turned into a bitch around the same time. Maybe kids should take new names as part of the divorce settlement. It will give them the permission and freedom to develop their own identities that’s separate from their parents’ selfishness and/or insanity.

So, I don’t know how the book ends. Big repeat themes: Crazy Mommy. Crazy California. Dopey, useless Daddy. No-Name. 70s style divorce. Wish I hadn’t lost it. Maybe I should call my brother and ask him how it ends.

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