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Finishing this book, I am once again impressed and confused by Edith Pearlman.  One thing that I haven’t really talked about is the age of many of her characters.  In “Aunt Telephone,” Susan’s childhood, adolescence, and adulthood are explored through voice.  Pearlman manages to make the voice of Susan mature as she does.  She introduces the story like a nine-year old and ends it as a mother. Milo goes from a middle-aged man to an elderly man.  Parenthood and old age seem to be two very common characteristics of her main characters.  I think that it really adds to the story that the age isn’t learned until later, because it makes the main character relatable to many generations.  I think that people forget that their parents were once their age, and that parents don’t always think like parents, and Pearlman reminds us of that.

Pearlman chooses interesting scenes to really go into detail about, and she doesn’t elaborate on scenes that I would normally expect to be further explained. In “Aunt Telephone,” she briefly mentions a moment where Susan comes home from camp. Susan’s mother says, “It’s difficult to have her home.”  On the next page, Susan explains in detail her visit with Milo to Boesky’s Wild Animal Preserve.  This place ends up being an important place for her and Milo in the story, but the way that it is introduced makes it seem like a random irrelevant description. I like that she does this because it reminds me of how a brain functions, instead of how a story should be written. When a person develops memories, it’s not necessarily moments that are relevant to a story plot.  It allows the reader to feel like they are able to read the thoughts of the character.

In the story “Self-Reliance,” Cornelia Fitch lives by herself.  It is later revealed that she has cancer.  Following her thought process, I like that whenever the cancer is brought up, there’s a detailed description about something unimportant, like a wig.  This also helps the reader feel like they are in the brain of the character.  She’s avoiding her sickness, and her thought process shows that.

Once again, Pearlman really explores the complexities of relationships between people.  When Cornelia is dying, her Aunt Shelly is described. “No endearment was equal to her insults, no kiss as soothing as the accidental brush of her lips, no enterprise as gratifying as the attainment of her lap.” (372) I like the way that she describes why this Aunt is important because it makes the relationship more believable. She emphasizes imperfections instead of perfect, uniform relationships.  It makes the character more likable because they have certain quirks, instead of being described the same way that bonds are described in most stories.

I really enjoyed reading Binocular Vision because it showed me multiple styles of writing that I hadn’t seen before. I really liked her characters, and I want to work on developing characters in my stories so that they are also liked for unpredictable reasons

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