So Much a Part of You by Polly Dugan
Anna did not have an easy life growing up. Her father was an alcoholic. He constantly made Anna aware that she was late for something. There was no tolerance for anything in her life.
Anna grew up and went away to college and then to New York. This is where she met Peter. Peter had been going to medical school, but now he’s on what he calls a hiatus. Peter’s life was shattered a bit by two of his previous girlfriends, but it’s also partially his fault.
Anne is one of Peter’s former girlfriends and her mother is dying. During this time, Anna and Peter step in to be there because Peter and Anne’s mother had been such good friends.
Time moves on and other people come into contact with Anna and Peter.
What I liked
This was an interesting reading experience. It’s not exactly linear in fashion. I mean, I guess it is, but it’s so spread out that it’s different.
What I didn’t like
While the branching-out effect of this book is interesting, it also makes it difficult to follow. Sometimes, your main characters just kind of disappear and someone else is talking for a while. It’s fun to get background stories of so many people, but it also seems to diffuse the story.
Part of this story involves the idea of abortion, which is kind of one of the character’s fault for not taking proper precautions when asked. Look, I don’t like the idea of abortion. At this point in my life, there probably isn’t a reason I would conceivably get one. I tend to be more in the camp that a baby is a baby is a baby. If you’re pregnant, you have a baby inside of you, not just a bunch of gunk and tissue. It’s a living creature. On the other hand, I’ve read too many horror stories about back-alley abortions and I’d rather women get this procedure done in a sterile environment. Also, who the heck are you to tell a woman what she can and can’t do with her body? Pregnancy is a huge deal and no one should be forced to go through with it.
Part of me thinks that men should have a say in whether or not a woman gets an abortion, but seriously, this guy doesn’t have to shoulder any of the burden of being pregnant, so why should he get a say? The character in this book gets angry because he didn’t have a say. Well, maybe he should have followed the requested procedures that would have prevented pregnancy in the first place? You can’t not use a condom, against the wishes of the woman you’re having sex with, and then get pissed off when she gets and abortion, because she got pregnant, because of your negligence. I mean, I guess you can get angry about it, but it’s kind of your fault. You can’t go around impregnating people and just expect them to take it like you’re freaking Zeus or something.
Another part of this book deals with an animal shelter that euthanizes animals and it’s very descriptive. I have pets. I love them. I’ve had lots of pets, which I loved. I cannot imagine just taking them to the pound and dumping them off as if they were things to be disposed of, although, my ex husband apparently is fine with doing just that. It was so tough to read this part of the book. Little animals were euthanized because people decided that they couldn’t take care of them anymore, and their bodies were put in plastic bags, to be put in a freezer, to be cremated in mass, because someone decided having a pet was too much of a hassle. It’s so sad. It’s difficult to read.
I can’t imagine taking a baby at twenty-two weeks gestation and euthanizing it, nor can I imagine taking my cat to the pound and euthanizing it because I decided I didn’t want a cat anymore.
There was so much about taking away life in this book. Life was taken away as if it was no big deal. It’s 2 O’clock, let’s euthanize a kitten, by inserting a needle into its stomach and killing it.
Anna’s father is a dick. I’m just going to skip the jerk part and call him a dick. The behavior Anna’s father exhibits is mentally abusive and controlling. It happens between parents and children. It happens between spouses. It can happen in pretty much any type of relationship when one person decides that they need to be able to control another person and that the person should always fit into their tiny idea of what that person should be. Anna’s father’s treatment of her made me cringe. Again, it’s probably because I’ve been in a situation like that and was, quite frankly, traumatized because of it.
Anna’s father is so rigid in his treatment of Anna. He doesn’t make any allowances for her to be her. He wants her to be this little automaton that does everything he says.
I could just feel Anna cringe and shrink when her father was belittling her. While this may be a testament to Polly’s writing ability, it’s so difficult to read.
It reminded me of a time when I saw my ex-husband in the grocery store while we were separated before my divorce was final. This man had terrorized me. I was terrified of him. I had to duck into the soda aisle and just stand there, shaking, for at least five minutes, trying not to burst into tears because he was in the same grocery store as I was. I’m actually surprised I didn’t scream. When I person does something to you that makes you feel like that, you’re not sad if they go away. You’re relieved.
Truly, I think while reading this book, I felt relief when Anna got away from her father. I know what it feels like to shrink because of the way a person treats you. Anna feels that same way in relation to her father.
Polly can definitely write well enough to be able to elicit this much emotion from me.
Just leave the kittens and babies alone; I can’t take any more of it today.
Why the heck can’t we just spay animals and put them out on giant animal sanctuaries if people decide they don’t want them?
Do you imagine that both Anna and Peter were scarred because of the events they went through in their life? Would they have ended up together had they not gone through those events?