Reader’s Lament

Posted: April 14, 2012 in Inkspots, Musings
Tags: , , , , ,

Oh, how I wish there was a way to search for books by “remembered sentence” or “remembered phrase”  because there are half a dozen books haunting me in tattered scraps.

The first is a book for YA and it deals with an orphan girl who is convinced she was raised by a she-bear in a future time when there are no animals left. I remember that she crawls into a mechanical lion at a zoo at one point, and makes it belch, I remember that she is driven to find the she-bear that raised her even though everyone in the whole book doubts here. Oh, there are other parts that only gray-half remembered memories now, but it is the last line of the book  that will not let my memory rest: “Their lips met(or came together) with the sound of rain on water” The whole book is a search for self, and this juxtaposition of a girl who believes wild things and can not be tamed, and a boy who is her friend through thick and thin, steady, and sweet.  I have no idea who the author is, and no idea what the title could be.

I am doomed to live only in the company of its ghost.

The second book that will not rest in piece, is another YA title. It deals with a far future society, with corporate secrets, with a girl who teams up with a corporate guard to figure out who is planning a bio-weapon that would rock the corporate structures of their city down to the ground and give the earth back to the green and growing things. The society reminds me of Rome, and the words tunic and toga are used to illustrate dress. The main character’s mother turns out to be the one that is making the bio-weapon and there’s a lovely poignant scene that happens over the water on boats, or hover sleds and the main character realizes her mother would chose her daughter’s death if it meant that her plan succeeded.   Several scenes later, the main character is holding a little girl on her lap, and murmuring to her and soothing her, and the contrast is so stark in my memory it makes me tear up. Again, I have no idea what the title of such a book is, nor who penned it.

Like the soul  tied too close to the bone, it lingers in my memory with a sorry gloom, unable to leave or to make the corpse live again.

The final wraith is the oldest.  It’s a book about a family who goes sailing, and it’s told from the younger brother’s point of view, almost in a diary format. The brother, his rather too-girly older sister, and their first mate get stranded on an island after the ship wreck.  The first mate has a wooden leg (shin down to foot) that ends in a stump.  I remember the boy saying that “He lost it in a car accident, but so many people asked him how he lost it, he had great fun making up stories: an alligator took it, then it was eaten by cannibals,” which struck me as just charming.  There’s a point in the book where the sister and the first mate begin to fall in love (he’s only seven or eight years older than the girl) and it’s written from the brother’s point of view so it’s seen through the eyes of an outsider and is funny and rather sweet. I remember that they make a raft finally to get off the island, that they spear a dolphin and the boy laments that “it turned so many beautiful colors as it died, I wept and couldn’t eat it” but he’s made to, eventually. The sister gets attacked by an octopus too, and her leg is badly bruised and she “slept curled up around the rudder” from then on” and eventually they do get picked up by a ship and the boy kinda tells what happened in the end in a wrap-up epilogue with parents rejoicing and his sister being serious about the first mate but having to go to college before getting married.

The specter of this tome breathes in my imagination, frustratingly incorporeal, and so tantalizingly real.

Have any of you read these books? Does my description ring any bells?  Do you have any half-remembered books that are drifting in and out of your memory? Write their summaries (as best as you can remember) in the comments below. Maybe I can help you put your ghosts to rest. Maybe you can help me bury mine.

  1. Megan-Marie says:

    Join this group:

    I was in it for about two days before someone came in and posted the title of the book Mom and I have been hunting for for about the last decade. Incredible!

    What I’m struck by is the fact that dolphins really do turn different colors when they die. Is this way more common knowledge than I realized, or did that person really do his homework before writing the book? In Kon-Tiki, Heyerdahl describes how the dolphins turned different colors, but they preferred to eat tunny; also, that the sharks were barely edible.

    This reminds me I recently had a dream with a whale shark in it, but I can’t remember anything else about it. Whale sharks completely terrify me, even though they have the same coloring and markings as eagle rays, which I adore . . . huh.

    • 😀 I’ll have to do that. But I have such *vague* information about the books. I mean I don’t know what year they were published, or any clue like that. 😛 The one I lost, mourned for years, FOUND again, swore I’d never EVER forget it, and then promptly did. Ugh!

      • Megan-Marie says:

        Uh huh. Well, if I *hadn’t* had vague information, I would’ve found the book for myself long ago! 😉 I posted something to the effect of “It is a children’s book, probably set during the Depression and written about that time or in the 40s or 50s. It’s about a young heifer who is adventurous and always straying away from the herd; she produces very little milk because she doesn’t sit and chew her cud the way the older cows do. The farmer is always threatening to get rid of her. One day, she encounters some hobos living in the woods, and they begin to milk her, so the farmer believes she isn’t producing any milk at all and gets very annoyed.”

        Turns out it was a Maurice Sendak-illustrated book by Meindert DeJong and it came out in 1991, “The Little Cow and the Turtle.” And I didn’t even know there was a turtle involved! So even what I knew about it was wrong, and someone still found it within two days! I’m impressed 😀

      • 😀 I posted one there. I also got asked to help someone with a Zahn book so that was cool.

  2. Have you tried Googling the fragments/sentences you remember?
    My English professor tells me that’s how she can always detect plagiarism in her students 😉

Be brilliant, be peculiar, be peculiarly brilliant.

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