It’s idiotically difficult to be human
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There were parts of this book that I really disliked! I found those parts very difficult to suffer through! But then, there were other parts that spoke so deeply to my core, that I have to say I loved this book and recommend it to those whose core is like mine. A quote I will offer soon will let you know if we align in this regard.
The basic story is this: Without truly having a game plan, a person robs bank. So poor is the planning that the bank in question is a cashless bank. When the police show up, the robber runs from the bank and enters the first door that presents itself. The door leads to a stairwell with no other exits, making the bank robber’s only option to run up the stairs where an apartment with an open door is found. As it turns out, the apartment is for sale. Seven prospective buyers and a real estate agent are in the apartment and that is when the ill-planned bank robbery becomes an ill-planned hostage situation that takes up the rest of the book.
Here are two paragraphs from the opening of the book. Passages like this resonated deeply within me:
“This story is about a lot of things, but mostly about idiots. So it needs saying from the outset that it’s always very easy to declare that other people are idiots, but only if you forget how idiotically difficult being human is. Especially if you have other people you’re trying to be a reasonably good human being for.
“Because there’s such an unbelievable amount that we’re all supposed to be able to cope with these days. You’re supposed to have a job, and somewhere to live, and a family, and you’re supposed to pay taxes and have clean underwear and remember the password to your damn Wi-Fi. Some of us never manage to get the chaos under control, so our lives simply carry-on, the world spinning through space at two million miles an hour while we bounce around on its surface like so many lost socks. Our hearts are bars of soap that we keep losing hold of; the moment we relax, they drift off and fall in love and get broken, all in the wink of an eye. We’re not in control. So we learn to pretend, all the time, about our jobs and our marriages and our children and everything else.”
Passages like this occur regularly in the book as the author explores how difficult life can be. While pursuing this topic, the author introduces a secondary story about a man who committed suicide ten years earlier. I won’t say much about it because it is fascinating to watch this plot line unfurl as the book progresses. But it is ever-so-moving and was another reason to love this book.
What was the awful part? It was the police interrogation of all the witnesses in the aftermath of the hostage situation. Clearly all of them – the former hostages and the policemen – are idiots! But by book’s end we know why all the hostages behave so oddly when being interviewed, and we also know why the two policemen behave so oddly. In the end, we forgive them all as we realize how idiotically difficult it is to be human.