April 20, 2013
I think we needed that librarian to follow us around the hallways for every minute of every school day, reading us her story of our lives.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove
By Karen Russell
I couldn't decide how I felt about this book comprised of short stories, whether I liked it or didn't, and I think my final opinion is that I didn't, though two or three of the stories lingered with me for a while after.
Excerpt from "The Graveless Doll of Eric Mutis," at the part when a school librarian finds the main characters in the story bullying and beating a fellow classmate, Eric Mutis.
"Larry Rubio," she said, in a neutral voice, as if she were remarking on the weather. "You are better than this.
"Now you go back to your classrooms," she said, in this funny rehearsed way, as if she were reading our lives to us from one of her books.
"Now you go to Geometry, Gus Ainsworth--" She pronounced our real names so gently, as if she were breaking a spell.
"Now you go to Spanish, Juan Carlos Diaz and Mondo Chu--
"Now you go to Computers, Larry Rubio..." Her voice was as nasal as Eric's but with an old person's polished tremble. It was a terribly embarrassing voice--a weak white grasshopper species that we would have tried to kill, had it belonged to a fellow child.
"Remember, boys," the librarian called after us. "I know you and you know better. You are good boys," she insisted. "You have good hearts.
"Now you, Eric Mutis," I heard her saying softly. "You come with me."
I remember feeling jealous--I wanted to go with Mrs. Kauder, too. I wanted to sit in the dark library and hear my name roll out of her red mouth again, like it was the Spanish word for something good. I think we needed that librarian to follow us around the hallways for every minute of every school day, reading us her story of our lives, her fine script of who we were and our activities--but of course she couldn't do this, and we did get lost.