Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Aaron Sisson is kind of a jerk.
So I finally finished Aaron's Rod, and wow, what a jerk! Seriously. Grow up. You have responsibilities, so put on your big girl panties and deal. He is so self-absorbed. From page 178 in my copy (Chapter 14): "He knew well enough that the thought of any loving, any sort of real coming together between himself and anybody or anything, was just objectionable to him. No-- he was not moving towards anything: he was moving almost violently away from everything. And that was what he wanted." Well, maybe you should've thought of that before you got married and had two little girls and a house. I know people need to find themselves. I am working on that right now, being comfortable with myself and being the authentic me (which is partially visible but not totally because I think some of my authentic self is weird). But I think Aaron went about it in the totally wrong way and hurt a lot of people in the process. For example, the scene when he goes back to Lottie and she is pretty much distraught? Not cool!
This book reminds me a LOT of W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge except the main character in that story goes in search of meaning before he's really tied down. He does hurt some people along the way, but not like Aaron. I don't know if Maugham's book is on the list, but it's a great read!
It's interesting that Aaron's whole self is based on his flute, referred to as a rod. This is a not-so-subtle phallic symbol that Aaron is controlled by his own desire, sexual or otherwise. Interesting to note that once his rod is broken (ouchies), he really comes to understand that aloneness and singularity are what he wants. Broken rod, wants to be alone. Broken rod, has to be alone because he's lost his sense of self/masculinity? Hmm. Something to ponder.
I liked Aaron's Rod even if I didn't like Aaron. I really think Aaron could've figured out his issues beforehand. This book is a bildungsroman with a late start. I think most coming of age stories (bildungsromans) start when the main character is younger, but I suppose the War gives Aaron a perspective that he didn't have before. I think he's a jerk, but I do tip my hat to the fact that he won't compromise his true self. At the end, page 295 in my copy, Chapter 21, Aaron's pal Lilly says, "You can only stick to your own very self, and never betray it." Words of wisdom that we should all try to live by.
Note: After this post I looked in the big book of books and Maugham's The Razor's Edge is on the list! And I forgot to check it off! So now with book 1 done, I've read 54. Yay!