Thursday, April 12, 2007

Some Last thoughts on The Measure of a Man

Hopefully everyone has had a chance to finish The Measure of a Man because I'm ready to move in, but first, some last thoughts . . .
Reading this book has given me immense respect for Sidney Poitier and his role in narrowing the racial divide--not that we're finished, but we're leaps beyond where we were, and I do think a large part of that is due to Mr. Poitier.

I loved the passage on page 125,

"If I were asked for an evaluation of myself, I would readily admit to my sins, such as they are, to my weaknesses, my frailties, my shortcomings. I do that all the time, and the reason I can do that and not be ashamed is that I'm willing almost always to try my best. And when I fall short of my reach for something after having tried my best--even when I fall so short that my attempt winds up in sinful behavior--or when my weaknesses tug at my ankles, I accept that. I mean, I accept that failing, but I can't accept my sinfulness, my weaknesses, my frailties unless I've really tried to reach above them."

I would say that the only things I really had a problem with in this book were two things: 1) for being as self respecting as he is, I was often surprised with his frequent use of the "F" word and 2) I had a really hard time with the portion of the book when he discusses leaving his wife because he fell in love with another woman. I know this happens all the time--especially in Hollywood--but I just ached for that woman! I'm now seeing friends of mine going through divorces because their husbands (I'm waiting on seeing any wives do this but I know it happens) fell out of love with them and it truly makes me mad because in most cases, there are young children involved. Don't get me wrong, I will be the first to admit that divorce has its place, but come on! Falling out of love is not something that just happens, it's a choice (sometimes two-party). I was, however, impressed with the stance Mr. Poitier took on his divorce--he in no way glorified it, he showed the rift it put between him and his children, and I think put it in a light where you could see that it was one of the big regrets of his life. Going back to the quoted passage, I think it is one of those flaws he cannot accept but that he is continually trying to move beyond and I appreciated that.

Now onto the next book . . .


I picked this book up yesterday and have had a hard time putting it down. Here's a brief summary by the New York Times Book Review:

"This powerful first novel . . .tells a story of fierce cruelty and fierce yet redeeming love. Both transform the life of Amir, [a] privileged young narrator, who comes of age during the last peaceful days of the monarchy [in Afghanistan], just before his country's revolution and its invasion by Russian forces. But political events, even as dramatic as the ones that are presented in The Kite Runner, are only a part of this story. In The Kite Runner, Kaled Hosseini gives us a vivid and engaging story that reminds us how long his people have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence--forces that continue to threaten them even today."

The Kite Runner is available here or at any major bookstore.

7 comments:

Bruce Young said...

Divorce is a touchy issue (meaning that people have strong feelings about it), but it really can (and usually does) cause serious damage, even when it may be necessary. I felt Elder Oaks's talk on the subject in conference was powerful and well presented. C. S. Lewis also had something to say on the topic (and he, by the way, married a woman who had been divorced). Lewis was especially critical (like factotum) of men (and women) who justify betraying a spouse because they've "fallen in love" with somebody else. Lewis writes on this in an essay titled "We Have No Right to Happiness" (published in God in the Dock). You can find the essay online at http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a380667202761.htm or http://people.stu.ca/~hunt/10060506/cslewis.htm.

Factotum said...

I hope I didn't sound too critical, I really think Sidney Poitier has been truly influential and I didn't want to undermine that by standing on my soap box for a paragraph or two, .

ML said...

I'm still reading - was most impressed with his mother hauling rocks to the front yard and pounding them into gravel FOR $6 A PILE!! She DID rest for a day or so before beginning a new pile of rocks!!

He had marvelous parents who gave him an identity which included self-respect. They gave him the strength to resist, survive and succeed in the cruel and unfair society of the America of the mid-20th century. One of his admirable qualities is the credit he gives to his parents' contributions.

Factotum said...

I was also totally impressed with his parents--especially the bit on his mother's laborous job and her decision to hold her head up high and not allow her children to feel bad about themselves, even when they were going to school in homeade clothes made from potato sacks, what a woman!

The Wright's said...

I am only half way through the book - I am loving it so far. I think what made me respect Mr. Poiter was his character. At one point in the book he refused to play a part of a janitor who didn't stick up for what he believed in. Mr. Poiter wouldn't play the part because the actual character was content to float through the situation instead of speak up. He wouldn't defend his situation or his values. Since Sidney wasn't raised like that, he declined the part. That was so impressive to me! This is a great book.

And great pick for next month: the Kite Runner - FABULOUS book! One of my favorites!

Factotum said...

I actually couldn't put down The Kite Runner, I finished it two days after starting it (I'll wait to post on it until more people have had a chance to get it), it was such a good book--I started reading another book but it just seemed so stale after finished the Kite Runner.

k8theriver said...

didn't love the kite runner. i was completely intrigued throughout the whole book but when it was finished....i don't know. it was just kind of dark and depressing and sad.