Already finished this one. Wanda heard my undigested take on the book, but after digested, it doesn’t fare much better. I like the book, but the structure seems all wrong–it’s uneven. Book One – “The Mistress’s Daughter” is great; it’s strange, unsettling, and laced with Amy Homes’ signatures. But it ends abruptly and without any emotional unpacking. Hence the first piece in Book Two–“Unpacking My Mother.” Easily the best piece in the book because of its material focus. Homes is in control of her work here. “The Electronic Anthropologist” is boring and indulgent–she becomes obsessed with geneology and spends a small fortune (and much paper pulp) on her hobby. Finally (skipping a couple of pieces), “My Grandmother’s Table” is sentimental, and seems better placed in a homemakers’ glossy mag than as a bookend to Homes’ first memoir. What is it that makes this such a difficult genre?
—Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl
Yet to begin. Veace: this has you written all over it. Let’s read and discuss.
—A Death Retold: Jesica Santillan, The Bungled Transplant, and Paradoxes of Medical Citizenship edited by Keith Wailoo, Julie Livingston, and Peter Guarnaccia
Remember this story? In February 2003, a seventeen-year-old Mexican immigrant received a heart/lung transplant of the wrong blood type. At the time, I was beginning the process of trying to be listed for a lung transplant, and this case reminded me of the tenacious nature of what I was about to do. My aunt (half-) joked at the time that I should have my blood type tattooed on my chest; I was grateful that there was now one mistake that could certainly not happen (again). This book is a collection of essays that examine the event from different perspectives. I already know a good bit about the strictly medical side of the case, but I’m learning a lot about systems, history, and sociology. A particular interest of mine is the ambivalent feelings Americans have about organ transplants–from horror films to the new-ish “Heroes” campaign.