What book left a lasting impact on you? I was asked this question recently by Plenitude Magazine for a segment called the Query Project. Here’s my answer:
“When I was nineteen, I lived in a rented room in a house that I shared with eight other people. The place was constantly noisy and hopping. Then winter break came and my housemates all left and I had the place to myself for the first time. My friends and family were far away. In the eerie silence, I picked up Jeanette Winterson’s first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and fell in love. The protagonist, supposedly fictional, but suspiciously named Jeanette W, struggled in ways I both related to and didn’t. At that time, I did not know that I was queer, yet I remember relating so much to that aspect of the novel. The rhythm of the book captivated me and I’ve yet to find a line I appreciate more: People forget, get bored, grow old, go away.
“Jeanette W’s need to take off to the hill behind her house to be with her real friends, her books, resonated so much with me. I read that novel at a time when I felt disconnected and it did for me precisely what Jeanette W’s books did for her. It alleviated that horrible feeling of being alone in the world.”