Tuesday, February 10, 2009

fruit-related titles.

...Why is it that whenever I end up posting about books here, they're YA novels? Possibly because those are the only sort of books I really feel qualified to talk about, hah.

I'm reading A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass (which I'd seen around before, but kept getting confused with The House on Mango Street. Definitely not the same book.) The book deals with synestheisia---I always want to spell this "synaesthesia" with the extra a. Wikipedia tells me that's a valid spelling, though, which is nice.

The book's protagonist is a synesthete, and the descriptions of the way she sees the world (she sees shapes and colours when she hears sounds, and also associates words/letters/numbers with certain colours or shapes) are really nicely written, vivid and strange and interesting without being confusing. I had to wonder about a plot element where the protagonist (who's finally admitting that she perceives things differently than everybody else to her family in the novel, and getting shuttled around to doctors) goes to a psychotherapist, who makes some condescending references to "middle-child syndrome" and refers her to a neurologist (who's the first one in the book to actually use the word synesthesia). I mean, I can see why Ms. Mass wrote it that way, from a plot-making perspective, but wouldn't a psychotherapist know about synesthesia, and be able to inform someone who sees coloured shapes that correspond to sounds that this is probably what's going on with their brain?

Or maybe I just think everyone knows what synesthesia is just because I know what it is. Sometimes that happens. Synesthesia (I'm not even going to think about how many times I've just used that word here...) is one of those things that I don't remember when or where or why I learned about it, but it interests me. I've always thought it would be a really frustrating condition to have, because it would be so difficult to share the way you saw things with other people. It's hard enough for me to try and explain things like the way I perceive the atmosphere on M*A*S*H or how I feel about the guitar chord changes in a song.

I don't know if I can finish reading this book, though. It seems like something bad might happen to the protagonist's beloved cat, and death-or-illness-of-beloved-pet is something with which I cannot deal at all in books, right from when I was under four feet tall and just venturing into books without pictures. (I remember, with embarrassing vividness, crying buckets over a character in this book dropping a goldfish-in-a-bag they just won at a carnival and the fish dying. In a way, it's nice to know that I've always been a little unhinged about this kind of thing.)

1 comment:

  1. Hi there,
    I just came across your blog today. And I have to say...I like your writing style. This post particularly got my attention.
    Liked it very much....Will definitely be back to check out other posts.
    keep up the good work :)