Who's running my life

You'd think that by this stage of my life (I am in the 39-55 age bracket now) that I would have full control of my time frames, and be able to allocate what I want to do and when...and then there were kids.  The chaos and erratic behaviour that comes with kids is not something that I could have ever been prepared for.  I have been in the thick of it now for a good 12 and half years, and I am still amazed how a week can disappear with not a single scheduled thing being done, and a billion other things being done.

This is what I opted in for when I ticked the virtual box of "Stay At Home Mum", or "Pick Up The Pieces and Stay In Tune With Everything That Comes My Way", yet I am still amazed that I am surrounded by so many unfinished projects, things that I begin, but have to put down, lose my train of thought as someone bursts in the door with an urgent need, the phone from school with an urgent request "Can you pop up please?", a request from someone to pick something up or fix something - before they come home from school - please...

It is a choice I made, and I would have it no other way, I love being this connected to my family, but I can tell you now, it is chaotic.  If you are about to embark on it, just understand what you are about to head into.  This is not a place of full control.  This is a place of negotiation, just in time management, thinking on your feet, prioritisation, and putting out spot fires, and sometimes all at once.  All of this is expected to be done with a raging smile on your face as well.

In reality, it comes and it goes, as I am heading into the next phase - the teenage years - I am beginning to learn to let go.  This is a major thing.  After running the ship for so long and being able to pull the chaps into line with a really loud whistle, "come on guys",  or "OIY" I am having to look towards my hubby who seems to have been at work for the last 12.5 years (except for when we spent a year together travelling) for advice.  Oddly enough, he seems to know how to manage the next bit.  It seems to be that all the books, psychologists etc seem to know what they were talking about, and he didn't read a single word of it.  He just puts his hand up to me and says, "Wait. Just leave him."  It works, even though it doesn't feel right to me.  He uses less words than I do. Somehow he gets to be hero in this next phase, which might be good, because I think they are getting much too strong and big for me.  I might get to spend a little more time, hopefully, on the things I want to do. I also still get to take them to all of their health appointments and sporting activities.  That seems to still be my role,  Mum's job, but I am learning not to take on the emotional crap that they chuck at me, and enjoying seeing the great individuals that they have turned into.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

This is a book club book that once again has taken me to reading a book that I may not have read otherwise.  I grew up listening to The Goons every Saturday, so I went into this novel by Jennifer Egan thinking of The Goons.  The Goons this book is not.  It begins with kleptomania Sasha talking with her therapist about her long term habit whilst she justifies her behaviour. Each chapter was connected, yet disconnected, with different narrators, and time frames.  There is one chapter that is written in the form of a power point, from the Sasha's daughter, Alison, and whilst it is interesting to a point (contemporary writing), and also putting across a point about who she was and how she was communicating, as a reader, it was slow and clunky to read, yet getting the Egan was pressing the point of change, (from the 70's to now) and technology and Alison's brother's obsession with pauses in songs as we have a pause in our thoughts as we turn each page for the power point slide.  There is also a letter from a Jules Jones while he is in prison for attempted rape, to his victim, Kitty Jackson, movie star, which is the transcript of his interview with her, which is somehow funny.

The main gist of the novel is set in San Francisco, punk 1970's music scene, with a few of the characters reappearing more than others.  There is Sasha, the kleptomaniac receptionist who works for Bennie and Alex who she had sex with when she was young and comes back many years later to reinvent Scott's carreer.  Bennie has made it big as a music producer after failing as a musician when in a band with Scott and after being mentored by Lou the coke-sniffing, teenage girl chasing music producer.  Scott has his career reinvented by Bennie after many years of no contact when he comes in with a fish pulled out of the East River, the same river that Sasha once lost her long lost best friend.  There are many threads intertwined in here, but it is a complex story with the discontinuity of the chapters. 

Interesting book.  I think I was lost somehow with the disconnection.  It made more sense by the end, however, I found myself spending a bunch of time throughout catching up on what I had read & who was who and how they were connected.  I suspect that this may be reread to truly understand it.

Before I Go to Sleep by S J Watson

I was taken in straight away with the protagonist, Christine, and the confusing, dangerous life that she lived. Every day that she lived, every memory that she acquired was wiped clean as she slept through the night.

She had to rely completely on this stranger in her bed, Ben, her husband to introduce himself to her everyday as she tried to grasp what the reality was.

This is a well written first novel, packed full of suspense from start to finish.  I even found myself gasp out loud at one point!  I am so thrilled that this year's book club list has included such a varied group of book, introducing me to books that I may not have picked up, including this one.  I was so drawn into the story, the life like a goldfish, forever waking up and having to recreate her history, that I devoured the book within 2 days.  Not much happened in my house during this time.  I became Christine.  I think that it really takes a great writer to get the reader in that well, and this is Watson's first novel.  Well done, I say, well done!

I became fearful for Christine as I learnt more of her life, as she lived like a child, trying desperately to uncover how she came to be living like this now, and with no memory that made sense.  What she was being told didn't seem to add up with how she was feeling, or were they memories?  Watson plays with the idea of what memory is.

It is a fun, suspense filled novel that may render you useless until you turn the final page like I did.  The book, and Christine and her life, still have not left me!  Wonderful.  I love to read a book that can truly take me away!

Great read.

xx Meg