Only twice in my life have I read a book more than once (other than children’s books and poetry): Little Women and To Kill A Mockingbird. I read them a second time because I loved them as a child and wanted to revisit them as an adult, not because I couldn’t remember them or the outcome of the stories. I usually remember books very well. I think the reason I can’t remember what I wore to work yesterday is because my head is full of other people’s admittedly more interesting stories.
So, that is why what happened with Vinegar Hill, a novel by A. Manette Ansay, is so strange.
I had finished another book and had nothing of interest on deck, so in a rush to leave the house the other morning, I perused my bookshelves for something new to read.
I saw Vinegar Hill tucked in amongst several books I remembered very well, with only a vague memory of owning the book (I think I should mention that it would have been within the last two years that I purchased this book.). I picked it up. It looked somewhat recognizable, but I couldn’t remember anything about it. Oprah apparently liked it. I read the back cover. Nothing. No real surprise there, though, since I rarely read the back cover. I flipped through a couple of pages and nothing looked even remotely familiar. I thought, perhaps I bought this book and then forgot to read it!
So I took it with me to read on my commute. As I began reading, I remembered each and every word ... as I read them. But I could not remember, for the life of me, what was going to happen next. I thought I would just read for the first leg of my journey and then grab a magazine or something to entertain me until I could pick up a book I hadn’t read.
But I couldn’t put the damn thing down. Each and every word on each and every page made me say to myself, “Yes! I remember that!” But I never could remember what came next. To the very last page. None of the words jogged my memory beyond the end of the sentence.
So, for the better part of a week, I was in a strange state of deja vu. It was, frankly, rather irritating!
I will say, however, and this makes the fact that I had apparently blocked it from my memory even more bizarre, it was a good book. It was a chick book, make no mistake, and a sad one at that, but it was well-written and heartfelt and while I certainly wouldn’t read it a third time, I have no plans of throwing it away in the near future!