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The first part of this book, Dream of Cream, is pretty dense with words and characters. I had a little panic attack a few pages in thinking that I was way over my head.
It was on page 44 that I realized why I was feeling so challenged. It is not until page 44 that the first female character, Gwen Shanks, is introduced. I don't describe myself as a feminist always, but I guess I like my books to have a little girl stuff in them. Before page 44, it's all about the boys and lots of them.
I think the first part is essentially Archy's story to tell and I thought it very clever of Chabon to make a full circle from the cash register at Brokeland Records from page 1 to page 109 where he finds himself right back behind the register on the same day.
I think that Archy is having some regrets about his past decisions and those too come full circle with the introduction of his teenage son, Titus Joyner.
I was very impressed with Chabon in his insightful description of the pregnant Gwen.
I don't relate very well to Julius Jaffe. I have boys this age and I cannot identify with this character. I'm interested to see how the rest of his character is drawn. Will he become more relateable? I hope so.
My Snort Out Loud Moment:
"Yeah," Nat said. For a second the wire in him went slack. "Babies are cute. Then they grow up, stop taking showers, and beat off into their socks."
Amen, Mr. Chabon!
"Throughout her pregnancy, attacks of fatigue had alternated with bouts of bodily exaltation, but as she marched, rolling with the weight of the baby well distributed along the engineering of her bones, over to the fifth booth from the back, Gwen felt positively indomitable. She flung aside the beaded strands with a left hand that could splinter pine planks and reduce cinder block to gray dust. Strings snapped. Hundreds of brown and tan beads rattled down, darting and pinging and scattering in whorls, mapping, like particles in a cloud chamber, the flow of qigong from her black-belt hand."
Avoid the wrath of a pregnant woman at all costs, right?
and really, any man that understands this:
"...there was something further required of Old Luther that never materialized, some part of him that never showed up, even when he was standing right beside Archy. Fathering imposed an obligation that was more than your money, your body, or your time, a presence neither physical nor measurable by clocks: open-ended, eternal, and invisible, like the commitment of gravity to the stars."
has my attention. Looking forward to Part II.