I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Monday, August 8, 2016

Bones and All by Camille DeAngelis

Maren Yearly is a very unique sixteen-year-old in that she sometimes cannot help but eat people bones and all. This began when she was a baby and her mother came home to find the babysitter reduced to a pile of bones and Maren with a bloody face and the hammer bone of the ear in her mouth.  Her mother immediately pulls up stakes and they move, which will be a recurring theme in her childhood after she later devours a boy at summer camp when she was eight when they met secretly to go camping outside together.  As soon as a boy shows an interest in her and gets her alone she can't help herself and ends up eating them even when that's the last thing in the world she wants to do, not just to them, but also to her mom who suffers from not being able to form friendships or move up in a company.  She knows nothing about her father.

On her sixteenth birthday, her mother gives her a great gift of a book and gift card and takes her out to eat at a nice restaurant then to see the movie Titanic.  When Maren wakes up in the morning, her mother has pulled a disappearing act without her, leaving enough money for her to take a bus to find her father and her birth certificate with his name on it. Instead of going to her father in Wyoming, however, Maren heads to her mother's parents place, whom she has never met, to try to make amends with her mom, in Pennslyvania. Once there, she sees through the kitchen window her mother crying in her grandmother's arms and realizes what a burden she has been to her mother and leaves.

Looking for something to eat, she goes to a grocery store downtown and meets an elderly woman, Mrs. Harmon who needs some help with her shopping and Maren is more than happy to help her as she is so nice to her.  When Mrs. Harmon asks her to come in and have breakfast with her once she helps her put away her groceries, she is glad to have not just the home cooked meal, but the company.  Mrs. Harmon even promises to teach her to knit later after they have lunch which will include the carrot cake she had made the previous day and was still sitting on the table.  Mrs. Harmon tells her she needs to take a nap and if Maren is tired too she can go to sleep in the spare room or Oom, as she calls it after the C.S. Lewis books since it too good to be a spare room.  When she awakes, Mrs. Harmon has died in her sleep and joined her husband with whom she had been married a long time too.  Maren goes back to sleep only to wake up to an older man she had seen about town earlier, eating Mrs. Harmon.

Once he finishes he introduces himself as Sullivan or "Sully".  And he too is an eater only he can sense when they are about to die and eat them only then.  After eating a "hobo meal" out of Mrs. Harmon's kitchen, he pulls out his long rope of hair and adds Mrs. Harmon's to it.  Sully's father had been a rope maker, which is where he learned the skill. He has been on his own since he was fourteen.  His grandfather taught him all he needed to know about surviving out in the woods.  He tells her it's best not to trust your own kind, but that he's different since he only eats the dead and that he'd welcome her company. She tells him, against his advice, that she is going to find her father because she has a romantic notion of her father teaching her all she needs to know about surviving this life.

She's not too smart when she buys a ticket to St. Louis impatient to get going, even though that means going southwest.  When she gets there she only has fifteen dollars left.  She tries hitching a ride and a girl ditches her at a Walmart in Iowa where she begins to contemplate shoplifting food.  A crazy drunk guy comes in and a tall blonde guy seems to steer him away from the other customers since the employees aren't doing anything. When Maren locks eyes with him she feels a jolt and has an idea that he may be an eater.  After stealing some food and going outside, she is followed by a Walmart employee who gets too close and she ends up eating him in his car.  The blonde guy, Lee, is there waiting for her with the drunk guy's truck keys so they can make a fast getaway.

Lee has a mother who doesn't care and dates abusive men. He also has a younger sister whom he is protecting that he still goes back to Virginia to visit and give driving lessons too.  The only people Lee eats are those who seem to deserve it.  He's nineteen and teaches Maren how to drive and helps her to find her father.  He's suspicious of Sully who is equally suspicious of Lee.  Who is Maren to trust when she has just met both of these people in the space of a week?  And will her father be even a little bit of what she hopes? What kind of future can a girl like Maren have, anyway?  This bizarre book really captures your attention and makes you feel for all the oddball girls and boys out there who never seem to find their place.     

 I don’t know if you can read between the lines when there’s only one sentence, but I could read all the things she hadn’t said clearly enough.

-Camille DeAngelis (Bones and All p 6)
 I couldn’t sleep in an empty apartment. I couldn’t cry either, because she hadn’t left me anything to cry over. If she loved it, she took it with her.

-Camilla DeAngelis (Bones and All p 7)
 We outcasts had a way of organizing ourselves into concentric circles, so kids like Stuart could feel bad for someone like me on the very outer fringe and feel relieved that they weren’t on it.

-Camilla DeAngelis (Bones and All p 38)
 Eventually I realized something. Whenever you tell yourself, This time will be different, it’s as good as a promise that it’ll turn out the same as it always has.

-Camilla DeAngelis (Bones and All p 39)
 I understood now why the smell of laundry soap was so comforting: Things couldn’t be too hopeless if somebody was still bothering to wash the sheets.

-Camilla DeAngelis (Bones p 62)
 Women don’t give me so many reasons to hate them. They’re more honest. Not always, but most of the time.

-Camilla DeAngelis (Bones and All p 173)
Link to Amazon:  https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51-poK9DrFL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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