2.07.2005

Taps: A Novel



i had been avoiding reading the end of Taps because i could see where it was going, and i didn't like it. i read the entire novel in less than a week, save the last 40 pages. those took me almost two weeks themselves. everytime i thought i could stand it, i'd start back up again, only to get two or three pages in before i had to stop.

he isn't supposed to lose the girl. this isn't how it happens.

last night i decided enough was enough, and i had to read on. i was doing the author - my favorite - a disservice by fighting against his vision. so, i read the last chapter.

and it was worse than i thought. in less than five minutes i was sobbing - sobbing - in the bathtub.

he loses the girl to the circumstances we've all experienced; he grew up.
i could've dealt with that alone.

but then his best friend is killed by a jealous husband.
i can't believe he stabbed luke. couldn't he fight back? oh, poor amanda.

the worst was the dog. dusty gets shot. murdered. by luke's mean-spirited, vengeful killer.
but dusty is his dog. he had nothing to do with luke. why does dusty have to die? oh this is awful.

i had to read that paragraph over and over again because i kept losing my place through blurry tears.

willie morris is an incredible author. through his beautiful, melodic southern prose, he brings people, places and scenes to life. he gives luster to and piques your interest in the ordinary. his writing paints vivid images in your imagination and you feel like you are the sixteen year old boy coming of age in mississippi years ago. he makes you love his characters, even though you have nothing in common with them.

and he does it all so well, so subtly that even you are surprised when you're crying in the bathtub, half because of how the book ends, and half just because it ended.