Enchanting Elephant Girl
Jane Devin has written a book. It is without a doubt the best book I’ve read in at least a year. I’ve not read the ending so I wouldn’t be able to tell you if it’s one of my top five, but assuming that Jane nailed the ending it will be.
You see, I can’t finish the book slowly enough, let me explain.
In January I came across a post titled Snooki Makes Me Want to Off Myself: My Rant About Simon & Schuster Dipping Into the Celebrity Cesspool. I’m reasonably certain that Annika or Nina shared it with me, and this post made me fall in love with the author’s writing style. I went through her archives and sent her a note begging to be one of the people who could read her book when it was done. I might have even connected her with an agent, but I don’t think that worked out all that well. Too bad for the agent.
Several weeks ago Jane sent me a zip file with her book in it. Because I don’t pay very close attention I started reading it, got a hundred pages in on day one, and sent her an email saying, “My gawd, you really do punish the protagonist.”
Jane replied to me, “It’s a memoir.”
I gasped, because I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading, but I couldn’t not believe it. I’m totally engrossed in the story and Elephant Girl has made me believe in the goodness of people while making me wonder if evil fills vacuums.
The writing is mesmerizing and the path is glorious filled with small victories and larger defeats, but somehow makes me feel alive and empowered. One of my favorite books of all time is The Color of Water, and Elephant Girl reminds me of this so much both in that it’s hopeful without being silly and because of that I’m unwilling to finish the book.
When I read James McBride’s memoir (and tribute to his mother) I stopped reading about thirty pages from the end and started reading a page a day. This way I was able to make the book last longer. I’m 30 pages from the end of Elephant Girl and I absolutely refuse to finish it in a timely manner. I’ll be reading a page a day for the next month. I’m not ready to put it down.
So Jane, this is my apology to you. I’m sorry that I can’t hurry and give you feedback about your book. Thus far it is magnificent and I love it about a thousand times more than I could ever love your blog. I found one typo, but the execution is flawless. Offering you writing tips would be as outrageous as tidying up a Picasso.