“We Never Make Mistakes”: Two Short Novels by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
1963, 71, 96
Method of Disposal: Giving to Vallan
I bought this book while working at a Waldenbooks that was located inside a mall. I got a 33% discount on it, and I did not have a whole lot of bills at the time so I went ahead and bought another book by the same author. My 11th grade English teacher recommended him to me after I developed a particular liking for the usual angsty, teenage favorites—Kurt Vonnegut, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and (I am sad to report) Elizabeth Wurtzel. I hope you are wondering “who is that last one?” She wrote Prozac Nation, among other things. All of which are currently still residing on my bookshelves.
I felt that I loved Russian literature (though I am sure I had only read a handful of things from the region), and I greatly admired my teacher. Her name was Mrs. Galloway, and she was hilarious and wonderful. She gave me a love for southern culture and literature when I thought it was impossible. She described what it was like to be a teacher during the race riots. She lent books to me that she thought I would like, and she was always right. She recommended Aleksander Solzhenitsyn. She truly was incredible. I still have a video of her blowing bubbles in the hallway during a period change, and it makes me smile every time I see it.
I knew this book would go to Vallan as soon as I started this project. I think she has looked at it several times since we met. She loves to read Russian authors, and she recognizes a good book when she sees it (minus those random Evanovich novels she has gotten into recently) so she was the obvious pick. I took pictures of it. I tried to type a blog entry. I put it off. I woke up. Thought about it. Put it off. Put it off. Put it off. I did not want to let it go. I re-read it. I loved it all over again, as will Vallan. I am finally letting it go. As good as it is, I recognize that I am trying to hold onto Mrs. Galloway more than I am the book. I do not need it to remember her and, even if I did, I still have the ones she lent me until it is their time too. This one is special though. I mean, how could you not love a book called We Never Make Mistakes? Really? It draws you in whether you are about to finish up high school and/or if you are in a stagnant and somewhat frightening period of your life where you really have no idea what you are doing.