I did not finish the book at lunch, however the following personal aside explains the introduction. My mother has been in the hospital since last Saturday. Her condition is not the result of a car accident, as is the case with Jenna in After the Wreck, but several factors have contributed in her being delirious (both meds and fever) various times throughout the week. Listening to her periods of lucidity interspersed with the medicated ramblings, I found myself wondering what she was thinking. How did her conversation make sense to her? In After the Wreck, the book opens with Jenna describing the car accident that took her mother's life and left her in serious condition. Oates describes Jenna's drug induced state as being "in the blue." It is a period of time when Jenna flies painlessly with the sea gulls and how she is often in that other place, viewing herself as a different person watching family and friends visit in the hospital. Reading the very poignant words presented by Oates touched me deeply as I continued through the hospital recovery time experienced by Jenna.
I have not yet completed this book, but at this point Jenna has shunned her father (he left her mother for another woman and lives in California with his new family) and moved in with her favorite aunt. Beginning a new school year, having to make new friends, being disfigured from the accident, and mourning the death of her mother, fifteen-year-old Jenna is having difficulty adjusting to the earth-shattering changes that have taken place in her life. Book reviews on Amazon hint at things to come, but I plan on finishing the book before exploring them further. Jenna is an intriguing and complex character, written with feeling, not pity. I look forward to continuing the journey.
I finished reading After the Wreck at lunch today. Oates deftly penned Jenna's depression, including bout's of self-destructivve behavior and her slow road to recovery, with a definite realistic edge. I was impressed with the depiction of Jenna's aunt and uncle, they were supportive and loving without being reduced to silly caricatures of concern. Also interesting was Jenna's "puppy" love for Crow, a charcter who befriended her but was found to be less than the perfect hero she had hoped to find. The ending was satisfactorily upbeat and without specific happily-ever-after-cookie-cutter endings.