What Junkie is This?


As I was straightening out our class shelf of novels today, I browsed through the recent donations.  I make my college reading students actually read books because it’s important, so much so that I keep a bookcase of donated books handy from which they can take a volume or three.  Teachers and community book-lovers are eager to share their castaways.  They trickle in steadily, even though I last put out the call for books nearly two years ago.

I also believe that I should demonstrate a love of reading; thus, I choose a book as well, and I model the assigned journals as our semester progresses.  I was delighted when I came across a copy of Doris Lessing’s The Fifth Child from 1988.  I came late to the joy of Lessing, and she’s a prolific novelist, having written over 75 books.  I’ve read just one other, Memoirs of a Survivor, which I devoured when I was in my apocalypse phase. I’ve also enjoyed a few of her short stories.

The Fifth Child is a disturbing story of a serious young couple who is determined to build a wonderful, large family, but their fifth child is born a monster.  The story goes on to catalog the demise of this far-reaching family.  I already know how it turns out because I finished it 15 minutes ago.  Just this morning, I wagged it at my class and said “Here’s the book I will travel with while you travel with yours these next six weeks.”

You see, I am an addict.  It’s like someone uncorked a bottle of delicious wine, and I went on a bender.  Or perhaps like a shopaholic who just received a new charge card in the mail.  Or like a gambler in a casino on payday.  What’s the point of this blog?  I suppose to encourage you to pick up some Doris Lessing and give her storytelling a try (it’s fabulous).  It’s also to apologize to the Gods of literary studies, because this girl can’t help sucking down a good book as fast as a strawberry concrete from Ted Drewes.  Not every book is good (or every bottle of wine, store, casino, or milkshake), but when one hooks me in the first page, I end up sitting on the proverbial kitchen floor with an empty carton of ice cream and crumbs of Doritoes all around me. Or in the proverbial hotel room with a fellow sex addict.  Or like… well, you get the idea.

So to preserve the joy of this book and quell my junkie remorse, I offer this blog so that Lessing’s wonderful gem doesn’t pass in the toilet unnoticed.


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