Bookmarks: The circle of life
“Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish” is short, sweet and stylistically unique. Written by David Rakoff, and published posthumously by his estate, this novel is unlike any other printed work on the shelf. Working as a social allegory, the novel’s impact is multifaceted, much like the characters it describes.
Spanning through almost eight decades and across the continental United States, “Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish” acts as an omniscient narrator illuminating high and low points of six different characters’ lives, exploring all the happiness and tragedy that they experience day-to-day.
By subtly employing the butterfly effect, Rakoff weaves a story about six different people whose miniscule actions have repercussions for decades. Beginning with a girl in Chicago and bouncing back and forth between California and the East Coast, little nuances such as chance encounters reemerge later in the novel.
It explores the lives of very different Americans, from the daughter of Irish slaughterhouse workers living in Chicago, to an office worker in 1950s Manhattan. It tells of the trials of everyday life, from surviving during the Great Depression to struggling through marriage. But it also reminds the reader of the joy that can be found amidst the struggle.
People and things are loved and perish, and when you turn the last page, you feel like you have traveled through space and time. The novel leaves you with a lasting effect that is a combination of relief – the weight of emotion Rakoff illustrates has run its course – and sadness that, like real life, this book has no happy ending. Is it worth the read? Absolutely.
Well, readers, this semester was fun. This was my first attempt at writing a column, and while it was not what I was expecting, it was educational, and fun, and I am certainly glad I got this experience. My goal was to be as experimental as possible while not alienating the average reader. I brought in graphic novels, novels to be made into movies and novels that I had been required to analyze until my eyes were on the verge of bleeding, and with all of them, I managed to find something worth remembering. Continuing this column next semester, I will try to commit to just a large a variety and to provide you all with great books. I hope I surprised everyone with my reading material choices, made some of you think about your next novel purchase and brought something new to your bookshelf.