Source: Purchased from Amazon, recommended by Lendle
Written in three distinct voices - child, teen and adult - Jane Devin takes readers on an intimate, imaginative and often harrowing life journey. Born unwanted and raised without love, the child-author invents a rich inner life to see her through years of trauma. Leaving home at 16, the teen-author struggles to find happiness and a sense of place in a world that feels confusing and unfamiliar. Then, years after stumbling into an adulthood mired in tragedy and broken dreams, the woman-author finds herself at a crossroads. The choice she ultimately makes is as stunning as it is brave. Told in unflinching and often lyrical prose, Elephant Girl goes beyond a singular life story to speak of powerful, universal truths and the ability of the human spirit to redeem itself.
"In Thailand, the practice of breaking an elephant's spirit is called phajaan, also known as "The Breaking Ceremony."
I don't even know where to begin.
To be honest, when I first started the book, I wasn't 100% sure I was going to like it. The intro seemed strange, and just didn't sound like something I would be interested in reading...
BUT I WAS SO WRONG!
This intricate tale is one that I completely felt like I was a part of. I could see it all playing out in my head. There were parts that made me laugh, parts that made me tear up, and parts that I just didn't know if I would be able to get through.
Jane is an incredible woman that has been through hell and back. I wouldn't wish half of the horrid things that happened to her on my worst enemy. But, through all of it, she kept pushing and kept pushing.
I would highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. If you've read She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb, and you enjoyed it- you will enjoy this.
It is a long read, but it is WELL worth it!
KUDOS Jane Devin, KUDOS!
A quick disclaimer: I found myself highlighting A LOT throughout this story. :)
"When it comes to my family, sometimes I don't know what's a lie and what's the truth, but I used to believe a whole lot of things that I don't believe anymore."
"She was the mother of three, not four, and that's just the way it's always been no matter what my birth certificate says."
"I think sometimes if a person thinks about too many sad things at once it's like getting buried alive. Everything comes rushing down like a heavy pile of dirt and rocks, and it takes a long time to get unburied and feel normal again."
"Maybe this is it, though, I thought - perhaps everyone spends their lives trying on one role after another until something fits. Maybe they never stop playing a role. Maybe, even if they never say it out loud or otherwise show it, everyone lives in their own fantasies, where they see themselves as wise, brave, good, or whatever else they need to be in order to carry on."
"You are your thoughts. You become what you think about. Nobody can hold you back except yourself."
"When you can tell each other everything and anything, even your worst secrets and fears, and there's no judgement - when you can just be you and they can be them, and all the imperfections somehow feel perfect - that's when you know. It's when the other person's happiness is as important to you as your own, and you'll do whatever it takes to help them make their dreams come true. It's like that with Calvin and me, Imperfectly perfect."
"I have so many dreams and secrets that sometimes it feels like I'm a reservoir on the verge of busting open. Like I could fill a thousand spiral notebooks and it still wouldn't be enough to drain the words, thoughts, and feelings inside of me."
"Everything seems so precarious and based on chance, and a whole life can change with one wrong or right turn, even if a person doesn't know what's wrong or right at the time."
"How could anybody know what their life would be if only they'd made a different decision?"
"How does anybody really know anything about another person when all we have are words and actions, either of which can be misunderstood?"
"People shouldn't have children they don't want or can't love. It just makes life harder for everyone..."
"There are a thousand forks in the rod and every one of them is capable of changing something for the worse or the better."
"Sometimes I think if there is a God, it's not a he or a she, but something just like this - a breathing gift that comes to provide what's needed at the time, even if you didn't know you needed it."
"Maybe the truest danger doesn't come from human nature at all, but from all the bricks and rules we pile on top of it in order to feel like we're making advances."
"...and I often wondered if this was it - if there was really little else to life than the cycle of going to work, paying bills, doing chores and an occasional outing on the weekends."
"Experiences leave their marks, and sometimes all the wishes in the world cannot undo what has been done."
"Love means you never give up, no matter how hard or impossible things seem to be."
"Poverty isn't just a state of being poor, or going without - it's an imminent threat that requires constant vigilance."
"Love brings up everything unlike itself."
"Jacques Costeau said 'From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.'"
Writing Style: 5/5