Penulis/Author: Melissa Bank (2005)
Penerbit/Publisher: Penguin Books 2006
Consisting of 8 chapters that can be read separately as short stories, this book shares the life of Sophie Applebaum from the time she was a teenager trying to talk her way out from the Hebrew school, to her being 30 something and still trying to figure out where she would lead her life to. Each chapter is more like a milestone, when specific occasions took place on her life. It’s funny, thoughtful and also philosophical in some ways.
It’s never easy to find our place in the world, but Sophie is willing to work on it. She’s an ordinary girl, just like any of us. She can’t relate with her mother and grandmother, although that doesn’t make them her enemies. She was never popular in school, not that she wanted to be one. She still doesn’t know what her talents are and she works on her typing skill restlessly to get her first job. She has some on-off relationships with friends and boyfriends that end up nowhere. She loves her brothers but as life goes on they have their own world and she has to find hers. Sophie is more like her father with his practical thoughts, but she doesn’t really inherit his wisdom and diligence.
What makes the book appealing is the fact that there’s “Sophie” in every one of us, and her struggle is just how things work out in the real life. We feel that we don’t get along well with our family’s culture, we don’t quite fit in anywhere and we still work hard to find our place in the world. As Sophie gets older and her problem also shift its spots, her inept-self still within her to contribute the feelings of insecurity, don’t belong and awkwardness. All she has to do is be herself. It may not take her to her parents’ dream, but at least she lives the life of her own.
Lucky for those who know what they want and work it out from the beginning, but in reality people strive through trials and errors on career and relationship, well, basically in life. I know I do, and I still don’t fit into where I am right now. The thing is, are we brave enough to enjoy the trial process as we move forward? Or we simply sink into melancholy when facing the errors?
I bought the book as I tried to spend my last dollars at Tom Bradley terminal simply because the book looked ‘tidy and plain’. I realise that I am not sophisticate when it comes to buying books as there’s no magic formula involved. There should be a reason why this book is designed tidily and plainly, maybe to underline the fact that Sophie is an everywoman. But I still don’t get the reason behind those two elephants on the cover though. Perhaps you could see something from it that I didn’t? Please let me know, ‘cos I am really curious :).