I've been completely derelict in my duties around here lately, as I'm sure you've noticed. Sorry for the delay, but here it is -- finally!
wernoclue: Anyway -- on to the book!
wernoclue: Did you like it?
butrfli425: I did like it; thought it was kind of a "quiet" story, but I really liked the writing.
wernoclue: I agree: a quiet little story and I loved the writing, too. At the time I first read it I think both Sandra and I compared it to The Elegance of the Hedgehog.
butrfli425: I saw that book - Elegance - and remembered the title but couldn't think how I'd heard of it. Now I know.
wernoclue: The thing is that I remember a LOT about Housekeeper, but absolutely nothing about Hedgehog.
butrfli425: I did find myself trying to figure out some of the math.
butrfli425: Housekeeper is more recent? Or memorable.
wernoclue: I did, too. Even though throughout my school years math made me literally sick to my stomach.
wernoclue: Housekeeper is definitely more memorable.
butrfli425: I thought some of the math was interesting, even - up to a certain level, I could stand math. Didn't love it, but I could do it and even take some pleasure in having figured it out. I loved geometry the second time I took it. Once I got to trig / pre-calc,
butrfli425: it became more about surviving the class with a decent grade.
wernoclue: I did skim the math stuff a little more this time than I did on the first reading, though. I was trying to get through it in time for the chat because originally there was a *possibility* that I'd make it home in time.
butrfli425: Ha ha! Shame that you got held up. I am not a huge fan of air travel.
wernoclue: Back in my day we were only required to take algebra. I signed up for Geometry and bailed after about three weeks.
butrfli425: I flunked the first time. But I did have a teacher who stunk - boring and seemed to hate kids and his job.
butrfli425: Oh... I still went and grabbed my book, though. I underlined quite a bit, but more because I liked the writing than anything else, I think.
wernoclue: One of the things that I didn't really notice until I looked at the discussioin questions is that no one had a name except Root and that was only a nickname. How could I not even notice taht?
butrfli425: What did you think of the son saying he would never forgive his mother for not trusting the Professor when he (the son) had cut himself?
butrfli425: I didn't really notice, either. Perhaps because the Professor is "the Professor" and the story is told from the housekeeper's P.O.V.? So few characters that it didn't register?
wernoclue: I thought he was a bit of a brat, actually, and far to young to realize just how long forever is. I really didn't understand his anger, did you?
wernoclue: Maybe that's it, because those three are almost the only ones.
butrfli425: The only thing I could guess was that he idolized the Professor to such an extent that he was angered by any word against him.
butrfli425: Yes - the SIL is mentioned and in the plot a couple of times, but aside from her, I don't know that there is anyone else. Oh - her boss.
wernoclue: Well, as an adult I can certainly understand her uncertainty. Maybe as a kid I wouldn't have.
wernoclue: Her boss and one other cleaner, I think. But SO briefly it's easy to forget them.
butrfli425: brb - child is yelling for me
wernoclue: I could see this being made as an art film, couldn't you?
wernoclue: I also thought the author did an amazing job of the 80-minute memory thing. I didn't notice any slips in that.
butrfli425: I could see that. In fact I thought I read that there was already a movie of it? I could be wrong.
butrfli425: I did wondered something about the 80-minute memory - trying to remember what it was.
wernoclue: Could well be. I don't pay much attention to movies. Not like I do books, that's for sure!
butrfli425: OH - and now I do - I just wondered about the aging aspect of it - how, if you only have an 80-minute memory and all of your memories are from decades ago, do you reconcile yourself with the old man in the mirror? Or with the sister-in-law, who also aged?
wernoclue: From the note on his sleeve reminding him every single morning that he only has an 80 minute memory.
butrfli425: I wonder what their relationship was like and wish there was more about that. Clearly she still wanted to take care of him and felt some responsibility toward him, but why let him live in such squalor?
wernoclue: It's a little like... the S.J. Watson book that I can't think of the title of right now. Only in that it was told from the POV of the person with no memory.
butrfli425: Yes, but I would freak out every time I realized that so much time had passed and I had no recollection of it. And how can you get used to it when by the time you've gotten used to it, your memory has reset again?
butrfli425: Just things I wondered - I think she did a really good job with the whole concept and that there are some things she probably had to let go or could not explain, and we just have to suspend disbelief.
wernoclue: I don't know. That is odd, isn't it. In the Watson book she did freak out every morning. Maybe the Professor did and we just don't know it because nothing was told from his POV?
wernoclue: I agree.
butrfli425: Before I go to sleep - that one? But not so much time had passed in the Watson book that she would find herself unrecognizable, though...
wernoclue: Yes! That was it.
wernoclue: But in the very beginning she comments on her aging. And there was another one ... What Alice Forgot. The very first comment there is about being older than she was when she woke up that morning.
wernoclue: In those two cases, neither one was wearing a sign saying they had no memory.
butrfli425: Did she? I don't remember, and I never read What Alice Forgot.
butrfli425: So, in both of those cases, they freaked out because the sign was missing?
wernoclue: If I recall, with Before I Go To Sleep she had a journal sort of thing close to hand that she read every morning to remind her of what was going on. But it seems like the very beginning she got up, looked in the mirror, and freaked.
butrfli425: I also wondered who hid his research. Then I was thinking him before the accident. I wondered if he remembered it, and why he would never get out his baseball cards to look at?
wernoclue: I could be wrong though. Heaven knows my memory ain't that great anymore.
butrfli425: In Before I go to Sleep she did have a journal. I don't remember if she reacted when she woke up every morning. I think she looked at things like bruises that she didn't remember.
wernoclue: That's interesting. I never wondered about that. Maybe he put them someplace after his memory was damaged and couldn't find them again.
butrfli425: That could be.
wernoclue: I thought it was interesting that he'd never even been to a baseball game. Of course, I say that as a (minor) baseball fan. LOL
wernoclue: How easy do you think it would be to develop a lasting friendship with someone who can never remember you or anything you've shared?
butrfli425: So I guess that the car accident effectively ended the affair with the sister-in-law. I thought that was surprising about the baseball game, too. I loved when he was calling out the statistics, etc. as a way to compensate for his anxiety.
wernoclue: I'm not sure I could do that although I can see the kid doing it.
butrfli425: I think you would really have to come to care for and appreciate someone in order to do that with a person that you had no prior relationship with.
wernoclue: Yes -- the stat thing -=- I loved that, too. He found the ... sameness, I guess... of statistics to be so soothing.
wernoclue: It makes me tense!
wernoclue: I can actually see it happening -- the friendship -- because she so appreciated his obvious affection for Root.
butrfli425: It might have been the novelty at first of a person with no memory, and maybe just his kindness toward children and interest in teaching him.
wernoclue: The book would not have worked without the kid.
wernoclue: Yes, I can see that.
wernoclue: Maybe the widow doesn't associate with him because it's too hard for her to see him this way.
butrfli425: No, probably not; I think that was what made her love the Professor, was seeing him with Root and how he treated him like he was so special. Especially because he did not know the kid, and treated him that way, anyway, and Root had no other positive male
butrfli425: That's what I thought, but she does go to him once he is put in the home, to take care of him. I wondered if it was jealousy, or what, that caused her to fire the Housekeeper when she had spent the night
wernoclue: Oh, I don't know. Maybe that or just a strongly old fashioned sense of propriety.
wernoclue: I also had the strong sense that the widow and the professor had been involved well before hte husband/brother died.
butrfli425: That could be it, too. I don't remember if I said anything in the spoilers thread, but I REALLY wanted to know the significance of the equation that the Professor kind of settled that argument with.
wernoclue: That may have been another reason she didn't associate herself closely -- the brother found out or something and she felt guilty.
butrfli425: I thought for sure they were having an affair. Aside from the fact that they were in the car accident together, he dedicated that paper to her and said that he would never forget.
wernoclue: Oh, me too! It clearly meant something to the widow! Wasn't that also included in his note to her on his paper?
butrfli425: I don't think the equation was, no.
wernoclue: Well, I'm a math ninny so I'll never figure it out!
butrfli425: It almost seemed to me like that equation must somehow translate to love or something, but it was never explained.
wernoclue: Agreed. Maybe I should have Googled it.
butrfli425: I still on rare occasions have nightmares that I am in college and forgot to attend a math class until the day of the final, and here is the final, and I have not studied.
butrfli425: Oh, that's a good idea - I didn't think to do that for the math!
wernoclue: I'm surprised I don't have the same nightmare!
butrfli425: LOL! It began when I was a child dreaming that I went to school with no shoes, which somehow in the dream was as horrifying as nakedness... now it's math.
wernoclue: Does your copy of the book have the reader's guid in the back?
butrfli425: It does.
wernoclue: Question 11. Consider the fact that the book has eleven chapters. Are all things quantifiable, and all numbers fraught with poetic possibility?
wernoclue: See now, that's one of those questions taht I just turn my back on. :P
butrfli425: Only if you are a mathmatiican. LOL
wernoclue: LOL Exactly.
butrfli425: I liked the quote in #4 but couldn't think of an answer to anything else it applies to.
wernoclue: I had a friend of mine who was a math major read this book. She didn't seem that appreciative.
wernoclue: Nor I. It's like the phrase about "the devil's in the details." I never "get" those things.
wernoclue: So, how do you think you'll rate this one?
butrfli425: Right. I mean, you can prove math, though, unless you get into the crazy complex problems. At least in high school and college classes that I took, there was a right answer. You could prove it.
butrfli425: On a scale of 1-10, probably an eight. I'd have to remind myself of the BB ratings. The one that said I'd recommend to some people. You?
wernoclue: I don't know how it's being "absolute and without contradiction" proves the existence of God. That doesn't make any sense to me.
butrfli425: I don't know, either. Maybe just in terms of how some people view religion. They "know" God exists. Can they PROVE it with evidence? Perhaps not. But I don't know what that has to do with math!
wernoclue: On the BB scale I'd rate it a 4 -- among the year's best.
wernoclue: Neither do I.
wernoclue: And that's probably about an 8 out of 10 I think. I would recommend it to just about anyone.
wernoclue: On the BB scale a 5 means: Exceptional. Probably will be an all-time favorite.
butrfli425: I would recommend it to someone who could appreciate it for the way it is written. Mosts of my students would not get it. I don't think it will be an all-time favorite... maybe. I may look back at what I underlined and change my mind.
wernoclue: Maybe that's what I should rate it since it's been a favorite since I frist read it three more than years ago.
wernoclue: I just remember closing it the first time with such a good and happy feeling.
butrfli425: I did like the way it ended, so that's something, too. Some books, not so much.
wernoclue: And I've retained a lot more of this one than I do of most.
wernoclue: (BTW -- I don't currently know any high schoolres so when I say I'd recommend to anyone, it doesn't actually mean anyone. )
butrfli425: And I feel like I've already forgotten a good deal, but it's the details I liked. The plot I remember.
wernoclue: LOL In three years I'll ask you waht you remember then and we'll decide how you should rate it. How's that?
butrfli425: LOL! Oh, I know, I just always have a habit of thinking about whether I can put a book on my shelf or not. It doesn't actually affect the rating I give it.
wernoclue: Well, I don't really have much more to say about it, unfortunately. Do you?
butrfli425: I think I've forgotten because I read a book my son asked me to read - the Ivan book he had signed. It only took about three hours to read, but I loved it.
butrfli425: And now that's what I'd been thinking about instead of this one.
wernoclue: I know how that feels. So many books are out of my mind the minute I read the last page.
wernoclue: Sad, really.
butrfli425: Ummmm.... no. I've been through the discussion questions. LOL
butrfli425: I know. I worry that my memory is swiss cheese anymore.
wernoclue: I know mine is. I'm fond of saying that menopause ate my memory -- but mine seems far worse than any of my friends of similar age.
butrfli425: I did like the baseball element. I thought the way his reaction was described was so sweet.
wernoclue: I don't really remember it...
butrfli425: LOL! Oh, no. I've been thinking maybe I should start memorizing poetry to try to improve my memory. There's an app for that.
wernoclue: LOLOL There's an app for everything!
wernoclue: I used to do Sudoku and it didn't seem to help.
wernoclue: I need to post the rating thread and unstick the chat threads for this one. And we're on to the next...
butrfli425: it was p. 176 - 177. Looking at it now, I don't know why I remembered it. "Then he looked up and tried to say something, but his lips just trembled as he held the card to his chest." I guess because it just seemed so appropriate.
butrfli425: I like Sudoku but don't do it often and don't see how it should help memory, either.
butrfli425: When is the next?
wernoclue: UIm, May 15.
butrfli425: And that one is longer... I should start soon, then. Not much reading time so far this week. Blah.
wernoclue: And if this book was made into a movie it must have been called something else because IMDB has no listing under this title.
butrfli425: Then maybe I imagined it or am thinking of another book.
wernoclue: And I still have so many library books to deal with! Yikes! But May 15 os only like 3 weeks away, right?
butrfli425: Or maybe it was just a review that compared it to Remains of the Day (I think that's a memory one, isn't it?).
butrfli425: I believe so! I was hoping to fit in something else - a Lisa See, since she signed books for me that I haven't read yet. LOL
wernoclue: Hmm, I think so. Although I don't remember it in this way. Actually... that's one I'm not sure I've read.
wernoclue: Did you ever read her Snowflower and the Secret Fan?
wernoclue: We read that as a group and most all loved it.
butrfli425: I have not read Remains of the Day. I read the other book he wrot, When We Were Orphans. I never read Snowflower. I've had a copy of it for ages, though.
butrfli425: Shame on me for that!
butrfli425: There were a few years when I was even worse about participation, if you remember. When the kids were younger.
wernoclue: I have a ridiculous number of books on my shelves that have been there ages and not been read.
butrfli425: Me, too. An embarrassing amount.
wernoclue: I do remember. But little kids take a lot of time and energy. We're just very glad you didn't forget about us while you were focusing on being mom.
butrfli425: I always have such good intentions when I buy them... I'm just a book hoarder. :P
wernoclue: LOL Me, too.
wernoclue: O.K., I'm going to run now.
wernoclue: Save this chat. Put up the rating thread. Go read a book.
wernoclue: How does that sound?
butrfli425: I need to, too. Thank you for chatting, even if it was just us!
butrfli425: Sounds like a plan, except I think I'm skipping reading and going straight to bed. My eyes really hurt.