Saturday, September 25, 2010

Boris | God Went to Beauty School

For my Juvenile Literature course last year, I had the pleasure of reading numerous books that did not feel like assigned reading at all. One of those books, Boris, by Cynthia Rylant, poetically tells the story of her gray cat Boris who has a lot of love and a lot of personality. The story is told from Cynthia's perspective and not only describes Boris and his way of life, but also life in general. Take, for example, this passage:

And then last cage,
last cage,
there you were, Boris.
With your gray sister.
And you stood up
and stretched
and purred
and promised, promised
you would be good
if I took her, too,
because she had
kept you alive
all those days and days and days.
Three months in a cage,
Boris, with your sister,
living in the moment
with only your memories
of leaves and rooftops
and warm brown mice.
I promise, you said,
and I believed you,
and I took home
two cats - one more
than I wanted, and
a boy at that -
but you promised,
and I knew.

There is actually another paragraph that I really loved in Boris, but sadly I don't have the book with me at the moment, so I'll have to update this post when I either check it out of the library again or buy it. Boris is an extremely beautiful book into the personality of a cat, into love, and into life, and I highly recommend it. It is beautiful to read this book and to laugh with it.

Well, imagine my surprise when I found another poetry book by Cynthia Rylant at the library - and shelved in the wrong place, with the poetry, but catalogued as a juvenile fiction book? That misplaced book was very lucky for me. The night I found it I spent it reading God Went to Beauty School and I loved it just as much as I loved Boris. I found something in that book that held the answer to a question that I (and probably many people) have had. See if you know what it is, from this excerpt:

He never meant to.
He liked dogs, He'd
liked them ever since He was a kid,
but He didn't think
He had time for a dog now.
He was always working
and dogs needed so much attention.
God didn't know if He
could take being needed
by one more thing.
But He saw this dog
out by the tracks
and it was hungry
and cold
and lonely
and God realized
He'd made that dog
somehow He was responsible
though He knew logically
that He had only set the
world on its course.
He couldn't be blamed
for everything.
But He saw this dog
and He felt bad
so He took it on home
and named it Ernie
and now God
has somebody
keeping His feet warm at night.

I especially loved this part because, well, I love dogs. There are so many insightful verses in this book, and it is truly uplifting, heartwarming, and enjoyable (and very funny too - Cynthia Rylant has a very good way of inserting funny parts into her writing). If you can, I really recommend you check these books out of your library. They won't take too long to read, but in the end, you will want to reread them and prolong the reading experience with these books, I'm sure.

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