Wednesday, May 16, 2012

6 - Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong

I found this to be a very different type of story, but I liked it. The main character, Linda, was always an outsider in her life. She didn't get along well with her mother, or her grandmother, her father died when she was in her teens, and even her best friend was in a different social circle so they never hung out. They would just write letters to one another. The story was also interesting, as Linda suffered from a condition that made her taste words. Which is as weird as it sounds. Her name, Linda, would bring the taste of mint to her mouth whenever anyone said her name. Many words had food tastes associated with them, and usually they had not real logical correlation. So this character was really isolated and different from everyone else around her.

What I liked about the book was first, I thought this was just the author using a creative license and made this character taste words. But then halfway through the book Linda sees a news program about this condition, and I googled it. Turns out this is a real condition some people deal with! They have a condition that makes their body mash together two sensory things at once, so in Linda's case she tastes when she hears words. Other people see colors when reading words, or hear music when reading words. All these are different forms of this same condition.

The other thing I really liked about the story, was that this character and her best friend were lifelong penpals. They lived right near each other, and would see each other, but they wrote letters. At first it was just for fun, but once they hit high school, the friend ran with the "in" crowd and Linda became a "smart" student so they did not associate with each other in public, as they were in different clicks and that was the only way they communicated. I found this really interesting, as they both still wanted to be friends, needed each other for support and would tell the details of their lives, but still kept up this front of not being associated with each other. It was interesting and odd at the same time.

Also this book had a really great way of creating intrigue and draws you in. The author does not reveal everything about the main character, but slowly lets you in. Halfway through the book there is a great moment when something is revealed that brings alot of clarity to the character of Linda, and explains alot about her isolation and feelings of always being the outsider.

All in all, an interesting read and I would recommend it. 

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