Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Bruise by Magdalena Zurawski

M-'s final year of college comes with some pretty big changes in her life. Change is the hardest thing for M-. She is not your run-of-the-mill quirky character. More like quirky to the nth degree. She either has Asperger's or some mental illness; whatever it is has M- watching herself as if from an outsider's perspective and obsessing about the tiniest of details.

M- keeps all of her toiletries in a bucket on her dresser in her dorm room. "The bucket was white so I was careful to purchase only white cakes of soap white washrags a white toothbrush white tubes of toothpaste and shampoo that came in white bottles. Occasionally though my scalp would begin to itch and its skin would flake and for this reason I was forced to purchase a tar shampoo that had an amber color and came in a clear plastic bottle." M- stores the tar shampoo in a drawer with her socks, since "I held the belief that things needn't be too orderly once in a drawer."

Her beliefs do not include commas, since I don't remember seeing one in the entire book. The sentence structure of the text gives insight into the unusual way M- views the world. In the example of her toiletries, one could infer that M- sees a pleasing whiteness, rather than individual items (separated by commas).

Anyway, M- has affairs with a couple of female students, G- and L-. My favourite part in the book is when M- recounts an earlier conversation with her mother, telling her "I'm not like other boys." I found myself really liking M- and admiring her strong moral compass. The final image, of Bernini's sculpture of Apollo transforming Daphne into a tree, is a good analogy for M-'s metamorphic coming-of-age.

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