After the jump, you'll find the guest heavy SPECIAL HALLOWEEN ALL-CARPENTER EPISODE of the Travis Bickle on the Riviera movie podcast. This is the longest episode we will ever do, we will never go this long again.
A story of tying off a wound, of "closure", that neatly ignores the cheap seats temptation to play itself to the teeming masses that would embrace such a tale, You Are One Of Them is a sneaky book--and as it's a novel mostly set during the Cold War's division of trust and fear, the trait fits like a glove. It's so tight it's almost too neat, but the book's more emotive passages keep the feeling of cuteness at bay. There's not a lot of rawness here--our narrator is too experienced in managing the demands of an emotionally crippled parent for her feelings to dictate mood--and therefore the moments when it hits are hard to escape. When Sarah describesher and her mother "locked together like two magnets, the grief pulsing between us", it's impossible not to take her mother's more extreme passions seriously, and the following line--"It's our job to make the world a safer place"--resonates throughout every action the woman takes, even as it's made clear that her motives work in tandem with a need to exert control on an existence that has been stripped of it.
Sarah's mother isn't the books lead, and Holt smartly avoids leaving the book too much in the shadow of that relationship, but there's a hardiness to the sections that feature those two. Their relationship offsets and motivates a good bit of the rest of the book--Sarah's an expert at handling a specific, unusual environment, but that expertise translates to a young woman both unused to allowing her emotions out and a woman who just takes things a bit too seriously. All her feelings are tied up in one specific loss, a tragedy that hit when she was extremely young, but it was that loss that has enabled her to do so much. It's a neat idea, and in all honesty, it's a believable one--if you've got a name for the cavernous wound where all your hurt comes from, you'll never be surprised by it. And of course, it also gives you license to tell the story of what happens when that wound is put to the test, when the truth is called out for the lie. A lovely--and somewhat painful--book .