|St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans|
Over Labor Day weekend Josh and I scuttled down to New Orleans. It was so hot and sticky and crowded and just the favorite city we have visited so far. It had everything I love: history, architecture, book stores, cemeteries...
Here are a few photos. You may notice that I like cemeteries.
These photos are from St. Louis Cemetery no. 1, which is the only one you have to reserve a place in a tour in order to visit. It's worth it. The guide will tell you all sorts of lore, real and imagined.
No food, though. I was waiting for my beignets. After our tour, we waited in a long line at Cafe du Monde, just across the park from Jackson Square. We found out it was cash only, but luckily there was an ATM across the street. Also, you don't wait to be seated, you find a table. The waiter will find you, clean it off and take your order. Don't you wish you had some?
While waiting for our order I read from a book I got at the Faulkner House. It is an anthology of the lyrics to all the famous blues songs. I thought it was the thing to buy to remember my time in New Orleans and the thing to read while drinking Cafe Au Lait and eating Beignets.
And here's my review:
Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I listened to this via hoopla, which freed me up to paint and also give my eyes a rest. My ophthalmologist said they were strained, for some strange reason, and maybe, just maybe I might want to reduce the amount of time I read. Hence, audio books have become a part of my repertoire. And I have discovered that my local library has an excellent digital library. I'm already on my next book.
Shirley Jackson wrote darkly, Gothic stories. Her people live in perpetual twilight zones and nightmarish realities. "Out of the mouth comes the overflow of the heart" and reading this biography of Jackson, one realizes that her stories were the outpouring of Jackson's soul.
From her domineering, psychologically abusive mother, to a society she could not conform to, to a husband who never pretended to be faithful, plus an ever losing battle with drug and alcohol addictions added to an eating disorder, guaranteed a short life. She died at forty-seven.
The chapters flow back and forth from the events in Jackson's life to analyses of her work.
My only complaint, well, there are two. One, I got tired of the feminist slant. The whole "women are oppressed and forced to get married and have children" theme got tiring. The assumption is women are somehow free or better off if they stay single and the only reason they would get married is to conform to external societal pressures.
That's a bunch of bunk. Speaking as a woman, I got married and had a baby because I wanted to. To indicate otherwise is to insult my intelligence and imply that I am not a free agent.
Besides, Jackson really could have chosen her life partner better. Stanley Hyman told her from the get go he was a womanizer and had no plans to change. But because she was a "free thinker", she married him anyway. This choice, a choice as a free agent and intelligent person, although maybe not so wise, was her decision, not society's. It was not getting married that caused her no end of misery, but who she married.
The other complaint is the narrator. I really got tired of her whiny voice and especially when she was quoting. For some reason she went into a high, child-like character when speaking as Shirley Jackson.
I have now started another audio book and it is also very good. I do have one complaint, however. It uses the same narrator.
View all my reviews