I do not want to say the book's title until I'm finished re-reading it. And maybe not even then.
So I’ve been revisiting old favorite books lately, but I’ve held off revisiting one of them, because it’s a biggie. There’s this one book that sort of changed my life, probably not because the book itself was so fantastic, but because it made me think in new ways, and it really did change everything I did afterwards: how I thought, how I acted, how I dressed, who I liked, why I liked them. This book changed the way I thought about religion and politics and myself and my peers. This book pretty much made me decide I should lose my virginity. Basically, this book did for me all the things that the Bible was aiming for, only with wildly disparate results.
It’s the fact that this book was such a Big Deal that I’ve held off re-reading it—that, and the fact that I loaned out my only sweet dog-eared underlined copy to this black hole of a girl I thought I was friends with ten years ago, and bitch up and LOST IT. I don’t actually believe she lost it: I had to friend-break up with her, and I think she was counting on the book to be the old black T-shirt of our relationship, only I wasn’t having any of that crap. So god knows what she did with it, but I was so hurt by the loss of it that for years, I refused to buy a new copy—until today.
Today it was really warm and drizzly outside, which reminded me of the summer I read this book for the first time. I spent so many hours cooped up in the swimming pool concession stand on those June days when it was raining outside, but not raining enough to officially close the pool, so no one was there but me and the lifeguards, and I’d spend the day sitting next to the sleeping cash register, legs stretched out across the counter, eating red popsicles and drinking suicides and reading this book. Today the air smelled just like that summer, so I decided what the hell, let’s give her a spin again, so I walked into Barnes & Noble and bought it and was almost afraid to open it.
Clearly, the odds of this endeavor being a huge personal disappointment and/or embarrassment are off the charts.