Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dirty by Megan Hart

Like Anne, I was deeply moved by this book. Its unerring focus on the heroine, written entirely in her POV, makes for some uncomfortable reading. Imagine a public narration of your own thoughts, your own emotional responses to the people and events in your life. Stripped clean to your bones. Anne was right. It was disturbing, yet compelling. A story you could not turn away from.

There are already a number of reviews for this book out there. Anne’s, Lauren’s, two at DearAuthor--Janine’s and Jane’s, Stacey’s, Wendy’s, and more I’ve probably missed (with apology). All do a wonderful job of recapping and sharing the effect of Dirty and its narration. Nothing more for me to say on it.

I will share a couple of personal notes though. First, Hart’s character Elle was so much like my best friend from grad school that I came dangerously close to picking up the phone and demanding to know why my friend published a near-autobiographical book without telling me. No, my friend did not suffer the trauma that Elle has. But she shares the same emotional detachment and engages in relationships with men that downright mirror that of Elle and Dan’s. It was spooky. And it primed me to care about Elle from the start. Where others found her flawed, I found someone I already knew and loved. Where others experienced frustration or disappointment in her, I could readily defend her responses, or lack thereof. Not because I understand that kind of emotional numbness, but rather because I learned a long time ago to accept it in a friend who has shown me more love and compassion over the years than most. It made for a different reading experience for me. Powerful, but rather familiar.

Second, and this one’s really personal, for every five words that leave my mouth (or fingertips), there are 105 words tripping through my head. A constant narrative that, before now, I’ve never felt remotely compelled to share with anyone. Now however, there is someone in my life that I desperately want to know and understand all that I do not share out loud. Not today, mind you. He is only four years old. But someday, I want my son to know how powerful his impact has been on that narrative. We all want our children to know how much we love them. Sure. But this feels different somehow. Like I want to capture the words, or narrative, on paper, to someday share with him how profoundly his being changed me. If I don’t, I will lose it. I’m already losing it from one month to the next. There is humor, growth, reflection… So much I’d like to impart. Or maybe just keep. For myself. At any rate, the first person POV Hart uses to lay it all bare reminds me that, however unattractive or flawed, I too want to start spilling. And one of the biggest blocks—my lack of animation or physical expression—may not be such a block after all. Hart delivers this narrative without it and still manages to convey the emotion, humor, indecision, etc.


  1. You are a master Jen. Your words never fail to move me. Fab review, and commentary.

  2. Thank you Anne and Karen. You make sharing easy.

  3. This book just keeps affecting people. It sure did me. As for our children...words some how often feel inadequate to try and capture how big the feelings are, but we try. It's one of the reasons I miss my own Mother so much and that this book affected me so much.

  4. Rosie - I know exactly what you mean. That is it. When my son was born, he had one grandmother. We lost his paternal grandparents and maternal grandfather years before his birth. There is so much I want to ask them, and can't. That void motivates me more than any other factor.

  5. Wow, this is the third review I've read on your blog and I'm just blown away at how great a read this review was.

    Your words moved me and I have to read this book soon, I wish you luck on getting that narrative written for your son.

    Wow, powerful review and I loved it, thanks for this!


Have you read it? What do you think?

Related Posts with Thumbnails