The Dangers of Proximal Alphabets by Kathleen Alcott
Other Press, September 2012
224 pgs, 4 stars
ABOUT THE BOOK: Ida lost her mom at a young age and lives with her father. She befriends Jackson and James, who live on her street and they become her quasi-family. Ida and Jackson have a hard time understanding that they are different people. To further complicate this Jackson calls her “I.” As they mature, Ida and Jackson have a tumultuous relationship that eventually leads to them living together as adults, but when they break up for good (this isn’t a spoiler. promise!), Ida’s entire world shifts and she has to learn how to live without her blood, her family. This is a non linear narrative that takes the reader through their childhood together and the events leading to the break up. Alcott is a fantastic writer! Her imagery is bold and fresh and her prose is almost like poetry. And her characters are young and artsy (my fave!). There were moments that I wasn’t convinced by the plot, but I think her next piece will work out some of those kinks. I look forward to getting my hands on it!
ABOUT THE OUTFIT: My dear I, you are in mourning, so pull on these black jeans and this black sweater. The white hearts stand out starkly, they are pure and whole—both are things you have never felt but hope to.
This minty blue button down is over-sized and slightly wrinkled, like you picked your boyfriend’s shirt up off the floor. It will be easy to throw on when you’re looking for Jackson on sidewalks and street corners and city buses. Slip into these lavender ankle boots and chase that sleepwalking man down the street, but let curiosity get the better of you and don’t wake him up.
This purple makeup shadows your sleepy eyes. It’s the same color as the bruises that pepper your body from Jackson’s violent outbursts in his sleep. This bag is the color of the jealousy you feel when someone talks about Shannon. You are an emotional cutter. You dwell and dwell and can’t think of anything else. These skull and dagger earrings show your dark side.
In the end, you have to remind yourself to Be Strong. Move on. Try to have a life outside of Jackson and your shared history. Whether you are successful or not is debatable.