The book is finally over and it was one I really enjoyed; the last part being my favorite. i I found it the most real and honest. Lauren finally (possibly) tells the truth..for the most part. She finally finds peace in the strangest place, an AA group. Not something that totally surprised me. The drunk-a-louge I really enjoyed. It was the only time I ever felt like I was reading something real. Even though she wouldn’t say the word epilepsy it was still so raw. I felt like she was really recovering by finally being honest. Both at the AA meeting and retreat even though they didnt listen to her.
I found it very interesting that she included the part about the psychiatrist when it could completely destroy her credibility. Not that the whole memoir was true, but it could have gone either way.. the psychiatrist does nothing for her metaphor but disband it.
Lauren’s exaggerations, lies truths come to a conclusion in the part four of the book which is the recovery. She invented characters, she changed her name, created situations where she becomes the center of attention ” I decided I should submit an interview like that to the campus news paper. I said my name was Juliette Epstein.” (172) Too many lies that makes the truth seem as a lie too. ” Six weeks later, “The Cherry Tree” came out in print. The interview did not come out in print. Of course, no one called.” (174) For a moment I believed she send this interview to be campus news paper because it sounded so real, but it was one more lie.
The narrator tries to warn the readers about the college counselor she went to see about her being unable to adjust to college life. “I handed him Dr. Neu’s paper. He read it, and he look at me. In my opinion, he read it very, very quickly, like maybe thirty seconds, a minute tops, so keep that in mind.”(175) That phrase “so keep that in mind” tries to preset in the reader’s mind a wrong idea about the psychologist and what ever happen out of that meeting the reader have to support the narrator’s point of view and reaction. Regardless of her intentions to support her reaction I was so surprise when the psychologist unmask her and confront her. “This, he said, this paper, he said, is not real”(175) if the paper is not real, so the person who wrote it. I feel that the entire book is one big lie.
The truth can’t be hiding forever, Lauren becomes part of an AA group and again just like the situation with college counselor she was confronted with reality and force to tell the truth and accept that her illness was a big lie and that she always wanted to be the center of attentions. “In a way, this memoir is like my fifth step. I am not an alcoholic and I may not really be an epileptic either.”
finally it ends, i feel like Lauren finally found a place. in the beginning it was a bit confusing to me. i was drawn to the psychologist’s statement of Lauren hallucinating everything that happened to her. he made it sound so realistic that i gave into it. but i m still a bit confused whether the psychologist was right or Lauren was right since she did say she exaggerates.”we should probably talk, he said, about why you need to tell this story, what it really means…. i think i said, i am going to have a seizure right now. what happens to you, he said, when you have seizures? he look concerned….ptyalism is never a symptom that accompanies seizures”(pg176). this is the only part that got me. i couldn’t decide whether this person is pretty much telling the truth or he is trying to scare Lauren and trying to be a pervert as Lauren stated.
even though it seems Lauren finally got to bring out how she feels and that helps her grow even more. especially due to the AA group and her sponsor Amy. now AA group was pretty much for those that were addicted to Alcoholism. Lauren uses this in a way to her advantage, she pretty much lies but i feel at some point this was the beginning of where she found herself and begins to change.”Amy said, it’s okay to cry. you have to feel your feelings. i can’t stand my feelings, i blurted out….my words surprised me….because what i had said was true”(185). the fact she is able to open up to someone and find so many similarities to her childhood and to her mom, kind of give a sense that she is home, or that how i see it.
“Voices,” I said.”I hear voices. I hear a woman calling me,” and she was calling me, this woman, standing by a brick house in a long forgotten place.” (140)
I found this to be a symbol of her mother calling out through the illness, what I mean by this is that the voice is what is currently happening to Ann. It was triggered by Dr. Neu “stimulating the brain” by him stimulating the brain it moved Lauren smell to taste then finally visualizing what the illness is triggered by. The visual was finally shown after Dr. Nue started stimulating the visual cortex which Lauren wanted to find out who this woman was which brought her sadness.
“If only Freud could witness this, the material id”(141)
This interested me because Frued was a psychologist who studied unconscious, fixations, defense mechanisms and dream symbolism, you might wonder exactly how these ideas fit in together and what influence they really have on contemporary psychologists. So Dr. Nue is suggesting that Lauren problem was of the psychology issues which suggest that her unconscious is giving clues to the root of the problem by Dr. Nue cannot determine it through physical means but only by mental specialist.
“In the far corner i saw another woman, altogether happier looking, a baby snoozing in a car seat by her side.”(150)
When I read this at first I thought it was another fact that it was Ann but the child was a boy so it was no way that child could of been Lauren. So I continued to look for this woman which brought me up to “After the woman left, though, I felt rage inside of me” which brings me to another state of recognizing it as Lauren is getting angry not finding out who this person is. Then she attempts to force a seizure to try and meet this woman again so she can get to the root of the problem. Well that was all of part 3 reading but now the author is introducing these up and coming woman, maybe one of them is the fable person Lauren is seeking.
Part three the convulsion stage can be summed up by saying that this is Lauren’s Mature state well beginning of maturity after Lauren’s surgery of course.
I don’t believe Lauren as much when she is talking to Dr.Neu about her Auras, as a professional he stated that “of a person who has more auras after a corpus callostomy, and I’ve also never heard of having auras without a seizure following.”(109) Knowing Lauren by now I feel she’s using her Auras as an excuse for the new feelings she’s now experience, and the changes going on in her body. She’s now 17 years old and those tingling feelings are her arousals, sexually. Its kind of odd that Lauren still wants to hold on to her innocence by referring to her vagina as “down there” and “you know where” even though when she was 15 in Acapulco on a vacation David the son of a family friend touched her “sexually” and she enjoyed it. But this part seems to me made up by Lauren just to make us feel that she’s not such a goody too shoes as she comes off to be.
It was cute, the whole Christopher Martin Phase, if that even is his real name because Lauren doesn’t really give it to us as fact but a mere play on words. Lauren’s sexual desires sparked with Christopher, just the mere sight of him gave her ‘tingling’ feelings all through her body. I don’t know if what Christopher did to Lauren in page 130 would be considered rape or just Lauren hesitating on something she truly wanted or just wanted to get over with. Her reaction to having sex with Christopher Lauren wouldn’t even let him near her which Is strange. yet she allowed herself to be in a relationship with a man that will never love her, that is only using her because he’s connected to her words. Lauren reminds me of Lolita in a way, seeking sexual satisfaction yet knowing that with the person they are with it can never be achieved because they are over reaching something that can never be obtained. I don’t know if Lauren loves Christopher but in fact loves the feeling he gives her a feeling she doesn’t yet understand and still calls them Auras. I don’t find it odd that Christopher left Lauren after he found out about her epilepsy. But its kind of sad that after all the things that Christopher and Lauren did together she in fact was left with just being one of many women in his life.
on a side note I love when the girl called Lauren ” My fathers slut!”(153) Had me in tears laughing!!
It seem to me that Lauren proclaims that she became better after the surgery was successful. but she still seem to me that she is finding ways to make you feel that she is still not normal which is true medically and physically. the part about her auras which she is greatly fond of seem a little scary and very weird.”The auras were dreams during the day, and i discovered i could be talking to a person like, “Hello, how are you”, and be staring at this star too. the star was like a speck of salt in my eye but it didn’t hurt”(pg 110). I feel it seem as she is beginning to hallucinate more. so the operation i think has made her become worse than actually relieving her from her problems.
what made it seem more weird was that her auras became part of her sexual self. so gradually she is discovering some aspects about her but i don’t know if she is exaggerating it even more.”One day,when I was typing a story for an English class, I had an aura that ended in an orgasm”(pg111). i don’t know but that is something very embarrassing. so i feel like the surgery made it worse for her than making her feel better. it’s really hard to believe though that if this actually occurred to her because you can still question her credibility from the beginning chapter where she states in chapter 1 “I exaggerate”.
“The soul is a pile of moist manure, and only by tilling and shoveling might you turn it into gold.” (28) This is the idea that Laura’s mother embedded into Laura’s brain. Laura’s mother is someone very influential to Laura. It is peculiar to me that they would compare the soul to manure. I have never heard anyone compare it to such a thing. Laura believed in this quote very much so. Despite her disease Laura worked very hard to be a great ice skater.
There was a part of the reading in which I was rather confused. At the bottom of page 28, continuing on page 29 Laura mentions seeing a cardinal. Then she proceeds in personifying the cardinal. I’m not sure what the cardinal was referring to or the significance of the cardinal.
There’s a huge contrast in how will power is manifested; it is the difference in how Anita has taught Lauren to will her epilepsy away and how Lauren has willed herself to fall perfectly when pushed by an anonymous person. Through the philosopher William James, a older Lauren introduces Will A and Will B. WIll A is the “work hard”(53) kind of will, while, Will B is based more on “willingness”(53). To me it appears as if this type of willpower is more so based on the phrase, “just do it”. Lauren describes Will B as being an active over “passive”(53) power, it’s an “active acceptance, a say yes”(53). The approach in how she starts to handle things by Will Power B, starts to show the differentiation in what she was taught from her mother to what she has now learned from this epileptic school.
Before experiencing Will B, Lauren seems to make a comparison and contrast between the nuns who work at the her school and her mother, Anita. She notes, “The nuns were proper…like my mother, but also tough and handy”(48); tough and handy are traits Lauren describes exclusively to the nuns. The characteristics, Lauren uses, were to describe how hardworking the nuns were in order to achieve something that needed to be done. Lauren states, “no electricians, no cleaning ladies”, it had to be done by yourself. In comparison to the nuns, Anita seemed to talk Will A in reference of holding your head up, but displayed no such thing; She just lied as on the many occasions we last took a look at. I can see why Lauren was starting to regard her mother as this “weak”(55) person. Here, Lauren was really working hard to achieve a better epileptic life, to come home and see Anita barely doing anything with her life besides smoking and drinking. We can see why Lauren comes to question her mother’s true nature; was Anita always like this?
There was a lot to take in from this section. I got a little confused because I was’t too sure in what order the story was being told, I felt like she jumped around a lot. I noticed the use of metafiction in this section. The specially in page 58 when the author pretty much stops telling her story and thanks the people who helped her write the novel. I though that was interesting. At this point it gets confusing to me because I don’t know whether to view the narrator as the author or as individual character. “This is a work or non-fiction. Everything in it is supposed to be true…” (60) The author literally steps out and explains to us that everything she said in regards to her falling into the grave was not true. In a way I was glad that she did do this, it gave me a sense as to what extent her exaggerations where willing to go. She also dedicates a letter to the reader, in this letter she is speaking as the narrator, but since she is addressing the readers, is this really the narrator. Seems to be a thin line that differentiates the two. I feel like through out the rest of the novel there is going to be a lot of merging of the two.
While I was reading I was also getting very upset because of the way the mother acts with her daughter. I really don’t feel like she is giving Lauren the love and attention that she is pretty much yearning for. I also noticed that when Lauren is down her mother feels up, and when Lauren comes back from the school and shes happy, her mother is all of a sudden “gotten weaker” (55) Her mother comes of has harsh and unloving towards her daughter who at these times seems to be needing her mother. ” And I felt comfort come from a place where i had never even sough it, not from my mother, but from this man, ” (39) Here she is implying that she has been trying to sough out her mothers attention, and it felt touching that her father was able to provide her with that comfort. As complex as Lauren may sound, we are aware of everything that she is thinking and everything that triggers her emotions. However the mother still remains a character of mystery to me, and her motives are still very unclear to me.
Hayward Krieper wrote the introduction of this book suggesting to “learn to tolerate” and to tell that “this book requires courage, along with an open and flexible mind” This gives a clear idea of how unreliable the narration would be, starting from the beginning of the book.
The article from a textbook sets the mood of how interesting o boring the text is going to be. Describing the stages of the so called “Classic grand mal attack” no surprise to find out that the book is divided into four stages a clear example of foreshadow of what the coming chapters would be about.
Stage one is the Onset: where some of the drama of this unreliable narrator can be anticipated. To make this assumption stronger Chapter 1 contains only two meaningful words “I exaggerate” that questions whether the narrator will tell the truth o just tell lies. Before letting the reader go into the next chapter the narrator put two words in an entire page for a reason, to plant dough in the mind of the reader.
The second chapter is the answer to the two words mention in the first chapter; it is full of exaggerations and metaphors “I have Epilepsy. Or I feel I have epilepsy.” (6) She is questioning herself and making the reader whether she is telling the truth or not, and for what purpose she manipulate this uncertainties. The strong character that her mother is over her father is an exaggeration compares them to objects. Textual evidence about the lies throughout is numerous for example Anita lies about her job, her new house, and about her knowledge about playing piano.