Post traumatic book insomnia

It’s past 2AM and I’m still awake. I will most likely be dragging my feet all day tomorrow.

For the past week I have been living a double life. I was reading novels, a trilogy, that I couldn’t put down. I was thoroughly enjoying it, but then it went from bad to worse. Now I’m mourning the loss of a character. At least then didn’t ALL DIE in the end, I guess that’s a relief.

Since I was a kid, I’ve had those phases. The Intense Reading phases. When my life seemed boring, difficult, or sad, I used to borrow a dozen books from the public library and put my real life on hold. That’s maybe why I later fell in love with the world of theater and the opera. I identify myself so deeply with the characters of the stories in novels, play and films, that I feel like I’m someone else for a few days. Or having an excited chat with a new best friend. (That sounds a bit crazy as I read over).

My memory works in a strange way though. I live the lives of the characters intensely while I’m reading, and when the story is a good one, and well written, it stays with me. I daydream about them for a week or two after I put the book down. I try to relive the great scenes. I imagine a different ending when I didn’t like what I read… but then… I forget. Sure, I do remember the main characters, the beginning, the end, and maybe the big lines of the story, but when, months or years later, I remember that it was a good book, I can read it again and still delight in the details because they are new to me. Over and over again.

This is why I like happy endings. Because it’s one of the few pieces of the story that I will probably remember. Bad endings leave a sour taste in my mouth. I feel like I’ve been wasting my time, struggling though the pains and difficulties of the characters with no reward in the end. Real life is hard enough as it is. I like my escapes to be pleasant.

D and I have this “rule” for the story lines in books or movies. If the story is full of trials and difficulties and despair, by all means, please find a way to have a happy ending. Otherwise instead of spending a couple of days with a happy smile and pleasant memories in my mind, I will have an insomnia trying to forget the bad ending, have a headache the following day, and spend the rest of the week twisting my mind in believing that I could write an alternate version or trying very hard to forget that life is, indeed, unfair.

If you haven’t read the Divergent trilogy, I don’t want to spoil it for you. The books are “page turners” as they say. The story is fast paced. You want to become a fighter like Tris and Tobias. You remember what it’s like to be in love for the first time, the tightening of your heart when you look at the person you love. How infuriating it is that these two don’t have time to enjoy time together, but there is hope ! Their time of peace will come ! There is a light at the end of the tunnel, there has to be, right ? After all you have been reading three novels non-stop for the past seven days. Turning the pages like a maniac. Thinking about the story when you are not reading and wondering what is coming next, in the next chapter, the next book. Wondering how this will all end.

But now that I’m done, I am left with an aching heart. I’m not sure that I want to see the movies.

Unless they change the ending.

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6 comentários sobre “Post traumatic book insomnia

  1. I totally agree with what you’re saying about books. I feel exactly the same. I love daydreaming about the characters and the story itself. I don’t understand how people cannot enjoy a good book once in a while…

  2. Thank you for the tip, I’m adding it to my reading list. I have been reading a lot of non-fiction lately because these books are easier to read in small increments, and I don’t have much time with Mark. I used to love Jean-Christophe Grangé, his thrillers are impossible to put down! (If you want digital copies in French, email me, I have a few 😉

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