anyone who knows me knows that i am a huge, huge fan of the mitfords (see previous entry), particularly nancy’s and jessica’s writing. this book is out of print, and apparently $20+ on amazon, so start scouring your used bookstores because this is a must-have!
the mitford girls wrote extensively to each other throughout their lives, and this book is a mere 5% of the letters they wrote to each other- apparently there are about 12,000 letters between the six sisters. all the girls had a million different nicknames, for each other, as well as other family members and friends, so it may get a bit confusing when you read the quotes.
“You know what I say to people whe I hear they’re writing anti-war books?”
“No. What do you say, Harrison Starr?”
“I say, ‘Why don’t you write an anti-glacier book instead?'”
What he meant, of course, was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers. I believe that, too. (3)
“When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is ‘So it goes.'” (27)
Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops. (39)
“There isn’t any particular relationship between all the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.” (88)
She upset Billy simply by being his mother. She made him feel embarrassed and ungrateful and weak because he had gone to so much trouble to give him life, and to keep that life going, and Billy didn’t really like life at all. (102)
It was about a visitor from outer space, shaped very much like a Tralfamadorian, by the way. The visitor from outer space made a serious study of Christianity, to learn, if he could, why Christians found it so easy to be cruel. He concluded that at least part of the trouble was slipshod storytelling in the New Testament. He supposed that the intent of the Gospels was to teach people, among other things, to be merciful, even to the lowest of the low.
But the Gospels actually taught this:
Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn’t well connected. (108-109)