Saturday: The Buddhist and his Old Girlfriend

Welcome to Fourth Comings, the post-college novel of the Jessica Darling series.  When it came out, it was such a departure from the regular format — gone where the months upon months of journal entries to build a narrative, instead we have Jessica writing furiously for seven days, reeling from a failed break-up and spontaneous marriage proposal.  Emily and I will be approaching this book slightly different.  Each of us will take a day, writing about it on Monday or Wednesday (or Thursday, when Anna forgets what day it is), and the other will respond with their own post.

The real change in this novel, though, is the point of view.  While we don’t understand why until the end of Day One, we learn quickly that these journals aren’t just a collection of Jessica’s thoughts — they’re correspondence.  Jessica is writing to Marcus, allowing these to read more like a conversation than any of the others have.  She addresses him directly, and we benefit from having more insight into Marcus in these novels, I think, than in any others thus far.  Although Marcus has always been a major part of the series, the novels were previously about Jessica growing up.  Now, the novels center around Marcus and his actions, as much as they center around Jessica and hers. In his freshman dorm room at Princeton, naked, he proposes to Jessica after she tries to dump him for the very lame reason that she doesn’t want to the girlfriend of an older, likely to be well-known college freshman.  Because Jessica is trying to find the answer to this question, the rest of the novel is filtered through her projections of what a life with Marcus would really mean, her reactions to their complicated past, and her emotions about what is would mean to be Jessica Darling, married woman.  There won’t be any burning of the pages too sad to keep in these journals.  After the tortured silence and distance in Charmed Thirds, we’re finally hearing everything that Jessica has to say to Marcus, and we already know it’s going to be more complicated than we want it to be.

Things I would text Emily about if we weren’t writing this blog:

I find her pretending to be Jenn thing very annoying.  It makes it pretty clear that she doesn’t actually want to break up with Marcus; she just is unhappy with the current situation.

The idea that she picks the girl that Marcus will probably sleep with is so sad to me.

Natty!  Your’e an instant classic.

If you liked that, try this:

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman.  Although it wasn’t my favorite book, it’s super beautiful and deals with the idea of narrating your thoughts during a break-up.  After I read it, I stared silently into space for 10 minutes feeling feelings, which is what you want from a break-up book.


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