Of interest, perhaps, is what the class has been told to do, and how to read the book, which I am, at least, finding interesting. There's really nothing to say about it, other than its nice to see so much attention paid to Anna's pictures.
M. Haji Bigman
So Ben Peek's novel "twenty-six lies/one truth" is a truly different approach at telling a story. In regards to the entries on understanding(the pictures), I feel like Peek is expressing his ability to understand the gravity of the situation. I honestly don't feel that he intentionally tried to harm G.
Seriously, he cared deeply for her. I mean, what else could he have done in a split second. The choice, in my eyes, was not between who the car was going to hit, but which direction to turn the wheel. He uses his guilt to try and make a rational reason for her death. He even admits that he likes the lies because they make it easier.
What would you have done? Personally, I probably would have turned the wheel to the right because I am right handed. But since this is Australia and the wheel is on the opposite side, this would have protected me and not the passenger. This is probably way over analyzing this, but I think it is an interesting point. Why would someone, even if he hated the mother, hurt his unborn child?
Ben Peek's entries are all pretty personal but the personal diary entries have that little extra personal touch. When we were asked to re-read JUST the personal diary entries i didn't think it would make that big of a difference as opposed to when we read them along with the story, but i was mistaken ( i guess we should never second guess our professors). We actually found out a lot of things by reading them all in order, for instance that Ben got his book deal the same day that he crashed the car and G died. We also were able to really see into how he was feeling and how he was dealing with the guilt. I cant really imagine how he felt but the diary entries definitely let us into how he was feeling. One that stuck out to me was the one called vindictive. He talks about all these things he was going to say to G through e-mails, calls, messages, but obviously cant do any of that since she is dead. It;s just another way people deal with guilt and stress. Sometimes if you write things out its a way to get it all out of your system and thats kind of what i think he was doing in this entry.
When I was given the assignment to read all of the personal diary entries, in order, in twenty-six lies/one truth I was expecting some sort of grand revelation to fall upon me like a warm blanket on a winter night. Or something like that. But, alas, nothing of the sort took place.
Did anybody else think something like that was gonna happen?
Instead, the entries just made me feel a whole lot of different emotions that didn't seem to be tied to anything in particular. My mind was confused, and my heart was confused. I was confused. I still am confused actually...
I feel as though reading all of the personal diary entries raised more new questions than it answered.
On the positive side though, something is to be said for writing that can make me feel so strongly, whether it be sad, confused, or otherwise. And beyond that, something is to be said for writing that could put our entire lit. class into silence like it did today. I think that is the first time that room has been silent (with us in it) since the time in which no one wanted to record the voice-overs for their digital stories.
I also found it ironic that our assignment was to read those, and to try to reach an understanding about "Understanding." And I didn't reach a definitive understanding of any of them. Just a little more insight.
I wish I didn't have two midterms tomorrow.
First of all if any one reads this post please understand that I am really not sure what Ben Peeks Understanding entries are meant to do. From what I gathered in the two understanding entries/pictures is that even though G's death hurts and depresses him Ben Peek he has to understand that G is gone.
I think that the second understanding post is what really helped me figure out what I thought the meaning of The two understanding posts were. It shows Ben Peek looking over after waking up and seeing that G is not there. The picture shows that G's spot is imprinted on the bed next to Peek. I think the eyes in the first entry represent his look of sadness and understanding that he is expressing in the second entry on understanding. It is doubtful that after G has been gone for so long that there is still an obvious imprint of her presence still on the bed, but the picture is meant to help the reader understand what Ben Peek is feeling. I think that the first entry of the picture of the eyes is purely a connection to the second entry, just more intimate.
I think that using a picture like Peek does in the two understanding entries can truly help the reader grasp his feelings, and also visualize what the characters look like. With out a picture the whole message the Peek is presenting could be presented too directly. Finally if I analyzed this at all correctly then the two pictures are used simply to help the reader understands Peeks thoughts.
The Understanding entries, to me, speak of someone who made a mistake that really wasn't their fault and then coming to own the finality of their decision without owning that it really wasn't their fault. When Ben Peek turned the car away from the truck to make it so that he wouldn't be hit, he wasn't actively trying to kill Geraldine Lee. He just jerked the wheel where he felt he would be safest, as any human would.
That he thought "fuck you" is irrelevant as even he doesn't specify what he was "fuck you"-ing. The survival instinct saved him, but he holds it against himself. In the picture of the eyes, his eyes reflect the full realization that he killed Geraldine, whom he loved, and that she would never be coming back. The understanding was false, though, in that it did not take into account that he really didn't plan on her death. Turning the wheel so that she was hit was the best option, really, when one considers that as both the side of the car with the wheel and the side of the road people drive on is backward, him turning the wheel as he did would have him moving empirically away from the oncoming truck. Thus it is plausible that he was just trying to get the entire car away from the truck.
On an unrelated note, the Personal Diary Entries were a good insight into Ben Peek's thoughts about Geraldine and life in general. The only personal diary entry that wasn't written on Oct. 12, Ben's birthday, was written shortly before Geraldine was killed. Ben had gotten a book deal and was happy and he and Geraldine were going out to celebrate. Then they somehow became pissed at each other and were driving home angry. Geraldine and her unborn baby were both killed in the crash (actually revealed in "X is where you sign your name"). Ben goes througha deep depression on his birthday, where he doesn't feel his life matters.
The fact that he feels guilt and remorse on the day he is officially one year older is important because the guilt most likely stems from the thought that he will continue to get older but Geraldine will not. This guilt is compounded by the fact that he only sees himself as respsonsible for the accident.
Anyway, those are my thoughts. You may disagree. I may not care. That sounds harsh. I do care, really. But just a little. Don't take it personally. I never go back on an idea once I have ideated it. Forget that noise.
I was a huge fan of Twenty-Six Lies/ One Truth. So much so I had already read A-M way back in August when I first picked up my school books. I just started reading and couldn't put it down. I decided to re-read it so I would be able to comment on the book better in class.
The assignment for the first section was to write about our favorite entry, then go back, re-read it, and write some more on it. This is what I wrote
"My favorite entry is the one where Ben listens to a 13 year old girl's problems and is surprised that his friends think it is a bad thing. I am trying to remember what letter/chapter it was in. Regardless I was a fan of how he brings up the idea of people's perceptions and how they can stop someone from acting to do something good rather then being afraid of implied 'dangers'"
the second part went like this
"So turns out that this was in the E section and called Ethics. It is interesting because Ben is commenting on an ethical view people have and this view cold have kept someone from helping this girl. Ben's voice really comes through when he says "It had never occurred to me that I could be in danger, just for listening to a thirteen year old girl."
Viewing the Ethics section with the hindsight of reading the L section and Sixteen we certainly are left with a lot to wonder. Is Ben a pedophile? Is he trying to justify it with his descriptions of teen sex idols? Is it a societal standard? Is he implying we should act on our sexuality and desires no matter what they are? Should we judge him harshly? Why did he even include those facts in his book? Are they really a big enough part of him to be included in an autobiography? Is this an autobiography? Was any of this real?
I don't think I will get an answer to any of those questions and if Ben is really reading this then I suspect he will leave me to wonder as it adds to the artistic merit and interpretation of the work. Or something like that.
I already read the rest of the book and have been trying to keep it special for those who haven't gotten to the end just yet. I really interacted with the book. A few times toward the end I felt like I had been punched in the gut and had to walk away. Once I even threw my copy across my room in protest.
So in this post, I expand upon the little passage I wrote in class about the novel "26 Lies/One Truth". My in class post went a little something like this:
My favorite passage (or passages in this case) were the ones about different Australian or international writers who had written fiction under the guise of it being non-fiction. These authors were usually praised for their amazing work, like one got the Australian writers award or something to that extent. But then it was discovered that they "lied" and the works are pure fiction and then people get angry at them and their reputation is ruined.
Then the second one went a little something like this:
So it turns out one of these authors is Laura Albert, who wrote about a person J.T. LeRoy who wasn't really her. Another was Helen Demidenko, who wrote about her Ukrainian heritage, even though she wasn't Ukrainian.
Since writing these two in class, I have also discovered authors such as Konrad Kujau, Norma Khouri, and Rahila Khan (apparently people with "K" last names are more likely to behave this way). I'm sure there are more in the novel too, I just haven't specifically found them. I know there are a lot. I liked these and they stuck out in my mind because they seem to be an important and integral part of the story, It's something connected, that is mentioned a lot, and it seems to me like all these stories will wrap up and make some grand and poignant point at the end. They are important, seem interesting, and are throughout the book, so that's why I liked these passages in "26 Lies/One Truth".
And this gets a special mention, because it made me laugh:
BEN PEEK! I'm calling you out!
I believe that the Understanding sections represent Ben's understanding that Geraldine is actually gone. I don't think it is entirely clear from the first picture. All you can tell is that Ben is looking at something with an emotion, along the lines, of sadness. Once you see the second picture, however, you can see he is looking at an impression in his bed next to him. Presumably that is the spot where G slept and he sees the absence realizing she is no longer there. That is just what I get from it at any rate.
Also my title is trying to get the attention of Ben if he is reading these. I don't know what to do once I have that attention. Nice book though. Could you e-sign my copy by commenting on this post?
Oh I'm star struck