You don’t get to see this side of womanhood very often in fiction—tough, and bitter, and unashamed—and it requires something intensive like Fast Machine, a deep, repetitive series of brutal inquiries, to uncover those kinds of secrets. What Ellen is doing here is going deep inside herself and coming back with something small and glistening and vulnerable cradled in her hands. She’s offering it to you. You should take it.
It’s interesting that you ask this, as my daughter and my daughter’s best friend (well, mostly her best friend) are currently obsessed with James Dean, and I like to sort of take credit for this, as three years ago now, I took them to James Dean’s hometown in Indiana on our way to Memphis (and, again, on our way back home; twice in one trip!). We have been back two additional times since then.
So I asked Vicky (the best friend) why James Dean is so amazing and she texted back, “Because he is an angel given to us from the gods. They obviously want us to be happy.” There were a lot of exclamation points added. I like that she pluralized gods, for whatever reason.
But I think James Dean is probably amazing for the same reasons Peter Pan is amazing. Similar myths.
I definitely buy more books than I read… I think we have high hopes for more books than we can possibly read. It’s like phone numbers. I have phone numbers for people I had some interaction with once three years ago still in my phone but I don’t delete them. It’s hope. We want to maintain friendships with more people than we can possibly find time to interact with on a regular basis. It’s the same with books.