Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Rarotongans (1-20)

West. Monte went west. I guess he had to find out what happened to Glendon, but I really wanted him to go home to Susannah and Redstart. I think he was showing his new braver, more adventurous self by starting out for parts unknown all by his lonesome. And I was thrilled that he found Glendon relatively easily.

Poor Glendon. I understand Blue’s position completely but I do feel sorry for the guy. I think he’s kind of soft hearted for an outlaw. Blue doesn’t have to forgive him, but stringing him along so that he can work her orchard for her? That’s a little cold-hearted.

I do like Claudio, of course, and I enjoyed the interaction between Monte and Claudio. In the end I thought it was totally fitting that Monte should move his family to the orchard and work there alongside Blue. It just seemed fitting. They had nothing waiting for them back in Minnesota and there is still a beautiful river to live beside in California.

Monte becoming a boat builder (is there a technical term for that, like ‘barketer’ or something?) seems fitting also. He always admired boats and owned one. He loved his time on the boat with Glendon and later helping him make them. Of course the side benefit being that not worrying about writing allowed a story to come to him…his own story or adventure.

If I have to admit it, Glendon willingly going away with Siringo is probably fitting too. He accomplished his purpose (apologizing to Blue) and no longer had to fear being locked up. He could pay for his crimes with a clear conscience. I guess that is all he really wanted. I have the feeling that Siringo dumped him at the nearest sheriff’s office and then drove out in to the dessert and dropped dead. I think he was only living long enough to see Glendon in custody. He’s walking up to those black gates by now, I’d bet.

So why is the book entitled “So Brave, Young and Handsome”? Is it all in reference to Hood Roberts? He seems to be too minor a character to warrant a title. Although when you look at the book as written by Monte about his adventure you have to remember that Hood meant a lot to Monte and weighed heavily on his mind. Maybe Monte sees the whole trip as he and Glendon both reaching their destinations but Hood, the brave, young and handsome one, coming to a tragic end. I don’t know.

Maybe he is referring to the deeds of the brave, young and handsome. Glendon, Siringo, Hood, and even Ern all had crazy and exciting lives (when they were brave, young and handsome) that ultimately led to sorrow. Maybe this is the chronicle of what happens to the brave, young and handsome ones later on. Monte of course was young once but I don’t think he was either brave or handsome…at least not until he reached California and started building boats. Then he had developed a spine and some character. Maybe he should be glad it came to him later in life when he was capable of making good decisions…unlike the others in the story. What do you think?

Overall, I loved the book; maybe not as much as “Peace Like a River” but it was close. I’d gladly read anything else Enger writes. Now I’m moving on to something else from my list and I’m starting a real life, in person book club too. I hope to see some of you there.

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