Book review: Desperate Characters

Desperate Characters is supposedly included in my April reading list. But because it took me a while to finish it, I decided to have a theme for May’s list, now that I can finally laugh at the situation without bitterness. The book is not really hard to read despite the number of days it took me to finish it, and certainly not as challenging as Insurrecto. Desperate Characters follows the life of the Bentwoods, a childless middle-class German couple residing in 1970s Brooklyn.

So, what’s the story?

For the love of God, Sophie was just feeding that stray cat when it decided that perhaps, sinking its teeth into Sophie’s wrist is somehow a cool way of showing gratitude. Yes, it was about Sophie getting bitten by a stray cat but for some reason refuses to go to the doctor and get the wound checked. As she ponders on the possibilities of rabies and infections she might suffer, Otto, her husband rants about his partner at the law firm, Charlie Russell, and also, just about everyone and everything.

But Sophie’s little tragedy was only the first intrusion the Bentwoods would encounter. As they live their life keeping to themselves, they are persistently presented with situations that leave them exposed and vulnerable. Charlie Russell is leaving the firm, a Black man tries to use their home phone which could just easily be a plot for robbing them, and they discover that their vacation house was desecrated and vandalized.

Cats are vile creatures, just like some people

I’ve said what I said and I am not gonna say sorry to all cat lovers out there who would read this. I read this book primarily because I know I could relate to Sophie. I am also a victim of the evil creature and that cost me Php12500, something I could have spent on a VIP ticket to see Chanyeol and Sehun.

Also, this book is less than 200 pages, so I thought I could easily finish reading it. One late night should do it, I said. Maybe you can do an hour more in the morning to read it, I said. Little did I know that it would give me words that I seldom encounter otherwise I haven’t heard at all. The good thing about digital books is it’s easier to annotate and find the words in the dictionary, thanks to my new Samsung tablet and Google Play Books.

Also, I don’t think Sophie was extremely lonely. Otto may appear to be nonchalant about things, but I guess he really cared about Sophie. He clearly likes order, and I bet if he could have things his way, he’d probably make sure that everything is in its right place. That being said, Sophie’s confession to Charlie came as a shock. It was like defying the order that the Brentwoods have established for themselves. Actually, no. It defies all the right reasons the world has to offer.

Should you read it?

Desperate Characters is full of symbolism. It is a literary masterpiece, kinda like the required readings in lit. It took me days to finish the entire thing because I don’t want to read it anymore but I’m glad that I read it. You should give it a try too.