The last two days I read “And You Know You Should Be Glad” by Bob Greene. I saw it reviewed in the paper and I guess the fact that it was about Bob’s best friend from Kindergarten hit home since my husband is unnaturally attached to his best friend he met in First grade. They talk almost every day. I am a huge supporter of this relationship; having such a close friendship is rare for men, and his friend lives out of town, so it’s no skin off my back.
Anyway, Bob’s books is good, but here’s the deal- a lot of it is walking down memory lane, which for me, never having been a little boy in the 1950’s, wasn’t such a thrill ride. You would be tempted to skip over these parts entirely, except Bob would occasionally come back with some, if not profound, searingly accurate observations. For example, Bob writes:
“It was the first time we had experienced something like that. Later, in the adult world of business and gnawing ambition, we- all of us, everyone who is thrust into that larger and colder world- would go through it time and time again; seeing someone move ahead of us, seeing someone achieve something or be given something that the rest of us can only yearn for. You feel it in your stomach, you feel the sands shifting. Someone has moved beyond you and you are witness. Someone has become something different- something better- than what he or you had been before. And all you can do is watch it happen.”
Ouch. That one hurt a little. I think I’d been chalking some of that up to the Old Boys Club or whatever else. But still, I like recognizing real life in books, so it prompted me to mostly read the entire book. I seem to be getting lazy in my old age, this is the second book I publicly have admitted to skipping parts of.
Anyway, as for the present day story, it’s a tear jerker. I was crying for the last two pages and I don’t even know these guys. Sigh. I always feel so stupid when that happens; completely unsure of how I would explain what exactly I was doing (and why) if someone walked in. Then again, I challenge you *not* to cry, lets see how tough *you* are.
I wish I could find more happy books. These sad stories are like car accidents you can’t not look at. True, it was a story of a beautiful friendship and it made me think about how much I treasure my friends. But it also made me think of all of them dying. Not such a pretty picture. It was a good book. I wish I hadn’t read it.