Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Second Annual Book Review

It's time for another book review. Not that anyone's been begging, knocking down my door, pleading for a hint of when the date of my next review would be. Or what delightful book would be spotlighted so they could beat the rush at the bookstore. I just decided I wanted to highlight another of my favorites and I decided tonight would be as good a time as any. And we all know, it's all about me, me, me! And, of course, this is my blah, blah, blah blahg!

"There are rocks

In my socks,"

Said the ox

to the fox.

"Bumpy old,

Lumpy old,

Clumpy old rocks...


And squincy

Whenever one walks.

I feel very grumpy

With rocks in my socks!"

That's how the book starts and it builds on Ox's solutions to get the rocks out of his socks. Sorry to say, he puts more effort into listening to outside sources offering to help instead of really thinking the situation through himself and doing what would be in his best interests. Sadly, (or maybe I should say, 'sorely') by the climax, rocks in his socks is the least of Ox's worries.

However, after taking the long way around, Ox is finally able to come full circle, back to the beginning and, following the advice of another character who has been objectively watching the whole situation, he simply takes of his shoe, takes off his sock and dumps out the rocks.

When it comes to solving my problems or dealing with a little more difficult and uncomfortable situation, I wonder if I take the long way around because it really honestly looks like the better way in the end and I'm acting in good faith or because, somewhere in my deep subconscious I prefer to avoid all the unknowns in the inevitable pile of rocks in the road ahead.

I remember, too, from my seminary days (which were sketchy at best) an object lesson where we were challenged to go a day with a small pebble in our shoe and then evaluate the discomfort of  the day. There are a lot of analogies that can be drawn; a lot of personal things the pebble could represent. My personal representation of what the pebble represents changes as I grow and evolve, too. A mistake, something in the past that's hanging on, a bad habit, a distasteful character trait, a foreboding of something looming in the future, a task I should have done but didn't take the time to do, things that are getting in the way of me doing what I know I should be doing, etc., etc., etc. And no matter what the pebble represents at the specific time, like the Ox, "I feel very grumpy with rocks in my socks!"

The fact that Ox does eventually relieve himself of the pain of the rocks and, at the same time, realizes his folly in placing his faith in misguided (however good intentioned) advice, leaves the reader feeling like there's a solution to every problem. If one is persistent enough and doesn't give up. And, truthfully, sometimes things do actually have to get worse before they get better.

So there's this segment's book review. Definitely a must read!

Reviewer's postscript: In order for me to perhaps validate some of the rogue statements above, in the book "Lift", by Kelly Corrigan, she describes some of the basic theory involved in hang gliding. The author is talking to a friend who says, "Basically, you fly from thermal to thermal, looking for lift." [A thermal is a column of hot air surrounded by turbulence]  The author then makes the assumption that you want to avoid turbulence to which her friend replies, "No. Well - some turbulence is really dangerous . . . Turbulence is the only way to get altitude, to get lift. Without turbulence, the sky is just a big blue hole. Without turbulence, you sink." So, there was a reason Ox got rocks in his socks and a reason he went through all he went through to get them out. And, most likely, it's a reason only Ox will understand.



  1. Well done! Well said! Well analyzed! Why didn't he just take off his socks and dump the rocks out in the first place? I think we have a tendency to make things harder for ourselves. I'm glad you like to read and share your thoughts with us.

  2. I always relate to what you say, Janis....worrying about the past...forebodings about the future. Those are my rocks. Maybe that's why I wear sandals a lot lately.
    Don't ever change. Well, I guess you can change some little things if you want to.

  3. Maybe you'd better be more specific there, Betty, on what 'little' things I can change. Goodness knows I'd hate to change for no good reason! Or change the wrong things. Or possibly not change at all. Maybe Ox is literally stuck in the mire!

  4. Maybe I should be the Black Sheep, aka Blue Donkey, aka Speckled Ox!

  5. One "little" thing you could change is to eat more at each of your little binge episodes...a half a serving of something?...I've never done that in my entire lifetime...21 nuts, come on, get real. Eat 42, or 50 or the whole can. That would be a change I could relate to!