I promise not to turn this blog into the All Bertocci All The Time channel. This is the third short story of his I’ve reviewed in the space of two months, but this one is a real departure from other books of his. It’s about a young woman mourning the unexpected death of her girlfriend, and trying to work through all her feelings of grief and bittersweet memories.
Not to say that the book is without Bertocci’s signature wit; because that is still very much present, as is his knack for wordplay. It’s just that here, it’s all turned towards addressing the subject of death. That grimmest of subjects which, as the Stoics remind us, we all must confront someday.
It’s a short, striking, poignant story. Above all else, it’s about all the little things we remember. Or rather, that we don’t remember, until it’s too late. That is the real kicker, isn’t it? That we don’t appreciate these little things until they’re gone.
Maybe this will be too emotionally trying for some people to read. It’s supposed to be, I think, because it can’t help but make you think of the loved ones that you miss. But the implicit corollary is, treasure the ones who are still around.
Ah, I know I sound melancholy, and I hate sounding melancholy. I was recently re-reading Zachary Shatzer’s The Goose Finder, a comic novel which contains this immortal (forgive me) line: “People shouldn’t die, and it’s stupid that they do. It really creams my corn, I don’t mind telling you…” Amen to that! Would that we could solve these problems by writing books. Oh, well. Like Zorba the Greek says: “Why do the young die? Why does anybody die? […] What’s the use of all your damn books if they can’t answer that?“
And yet… these feelings, these experiences are important to record all the same, and in this slim little book Bertocci has done just that.