So two songs came to mind while I was reading But I Love Him. One is the great song, Foolish Little Girl that has nothing to do with it, in fact, the guy referenced in the song was probably a pretty nice guy, but they keep singing, "But I love him." so naturally I couldn't get it out of my head.
The second is a song I heard for the first time this week, Johnny Get Angry. What an interesting song! "Johnny get angry, Johnny get mad. Give me the biggest lecture I've ever had. I want a cave man. I want a brave man. Johnny show me that you care, really care for me."
When I was trying to find the link to Johnny Get Angry, performed by Joanie Sommers, I read that kd lang did the song as well. That was quite surprising. Of course, she was mocking it, but the article says that someone actually wrote her and was angry that she did the song. The writer thought that lang was somehow condoning the message.
I'm not saying that the song is good one or a bad one, but it's a song that got me thinking. Don't we all want a caveman and a brave man? Those of us who want a man, I mean. I suppose those who want women also want brave ones. I don't know much about cavewomen, so I won't speculate as to whether or not they are desirable. But is there anything wrong with being brave? Is there anything wrong with Joanie Sommers, or lang, hoping that her Johnny cares enough to not let Freddy cut in every time she and Johnny are dancing? Is it so wrong that when she tells Johnny they are through, she expects more of a reaction?
I say this because of the games that people play. One time, in another life, with our Senior High Youth Group, I had us play a game of Spin the Bottle. Okay. Not the traditional game, so don't worry. But the deal was, you spun the bottle and when it landed on a member of the opposite sex, you got to ask him or her about opposite sex behavior. Why boys do what they do. Why girls do what they do.
I remember one girl asking one boy "Why do you treat us badly sometimes?" and I remember the boy answering..."If we are good guys, we usually only treat you badly when we want to break up. But we want you to break up with us, so that you don't feel bad about it." At first all of us girls just looked at him like he was nuts (me included). Then he explained. "Yeah, it's cowardly. But think about it. It's the kind way. You get the power. You get to decide that it's over. And you can tell all your friends that it was because I was a jerk. You can say I did this, this and this. And all of your friends will say 'what a jerk!' and you can leave the whole deal feeling good about you and feeling good about meeting someone better and someone nicer. If I am nice to you all the way up until the end, and then I just break up with you, you might get sad."
I understood that. It IS cowardly. But man...it does make sense. And humans, being humans...well, it was a honest explanation for bad behavior.
So maybe Johnny really doesn't love Joanie or kd anymore. Maybe Johnny is just trying to save her pride. Maybe he's "just not that into her" and maybe he realizes that Freddy, who is probably a totally nice guy and way more suited for Joanie or kd, really deserves a chance.
All of this has very little to do with But I Love Him. But I Love Him is about completely unacceptable behavior. It's about Ann, who is eighteen, and her year spent with Connor who is nineteen and an abuser. The book is told in reverse chronological order, the author says, so that the reader will understand better why Ann stays in the relationship, how it sucks her in and also why Connor is the way that he is. Connor has been a victim of abuse by his alcoholic father and has witnessed his drunk-ass dad beat the crap out of his mom for years.
The book shows how, little by little, Ann's world gets smaller and smaller until it is only Ann and Connor. Classic in the way that abusers do that. That makes the one who is being abused feel like there is no way out.
You read of the "warning signs" in reverse. The author did this so that the reader couldn't jump too quickly to say, "That's when I would have left him." That was very smart, as when I finally was near the end of the book and read about Ann and Connor's second date, I was doing it myself...I said, "WARNING SIGN! I would have NEVER gone out with him again." He takes her bowling. And he's quite the bowler. Never, ever, ever would I have seen him again. Check out 3:52 of this video clip and you will know exactly what I mean.
This book was excellent and I will recommend it to many. Amanda Grace, a pseudonym for Mandy Hubbard has written a book that will stay with me for a long time. I want to read everything she has written now.
One sentence that really is burned into my brain is this one, I as I have been there:
"What do you do when the one person you want comfort from the most is the one who caused your pain?"
What do you do, indeed.
What's Going On Here?
There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.