Strangers Drowning by Larissa MacFarquhar has received notable reviews. I was planning to read it carefully, but alas another person has it on reserve at the library so I decided to give it a fast look and decide if I wanted to put my own second reserve on it.
The subtitle : Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help is what really caught my attention. Many of the things that most make me horrified and crazy are things that, upon examination, refuse to fit my ideals. I cannot even read of the death of a cat in a book without weeping and feeling the loss for days, I love my own cat(s) so much. (Still not really accepting one of my two died last year after I did everything I could to save her.)
So I was curious about this book’s approach and as it happens, it is too full of sorrowful circumstances that in my ideal world should not be but that are actually sometimes realistic facts and the facts require inevitable acceptance of bad and sad things.
I am not good at accepting things I cannot change. I get really really depressed and angry that I am powerless to solve the smallest problems sometimes. Like after my cat died, I decided that my remaining cat who is very territorial would not appreciate any newcomers, foster, kitten, or otherwise. I had also made myself a promise not to take on full responsibility for any more cats other than on a temporary basis because I have multiple sclerosis and it is harder and harder to do things and I don’t want to tie and have a beloved cat be left homeless. I have made provision for her in my will, but still, when I do my usual catastrophizing (no pun intended), I have these horrible thoughts that what if the new people taking care of her don’t know how she likes to play “hide my toy” or that she hates being forced to do anything, especially being made to sit on a lap but she loves to cuddle my shoulder, or sit adjacent to me curled in my arm. So they might think her cold. And she knows her name, not kitty kitty, so that would engender no response. What if she fails to respond to the new circumstances and they yell at her and smack her. She will not understand and will be hurt and bemused. And this kind of shit happens to animals every single day.