I picked up Jewel by Bret Lott at the HB public library sale the other month. Began reading it last week. Today I decided I’m not going to finish it. While the story itself is mildly interesting, I just can’t stand the constant use of the n-word.
I know that might sound strange coming from a person who is OK with every swear word under the sun, and then some. But I was brought up by parents who never EVER used ethnic slurs, and these words all make me super-uncomfy, especially the n-word. So much so for that one I can’t even bring myself to spell it out. I think I said it once in my life as an experiment… and felt awful for a long time afterward.
There is no rational basis for my feeling, just as there’s no rational basis for the idea that swear words are the worst thing imaginable. Both are silly notions, imo. Yet the fact remains that the n-word is such a huge turn-off for me I will abandon a book rather than see it on every page.
As a corollary, I completely understand when someone irrationally hates swear words, and I will make a reasonable effort to be accommodating when on their turf.
That said, there is one sentence early on in Jewel, page 5, that I find totes cool and discussion-worthy.
“But it’s history that matters, what keeps you together in the tight ball of nerves and flesh you are and makes you you and not someone else.”
Agree? Is it history that makes you who you are, the collective memory of stories you’ve been told, whether true or false or warped out of original shape… or something else entirely?