We saw this young lady reading Toni Morrison’s first novel, the Bluest Eye.
Apparently, because the book looks at racism and child molestation, otherwise known as things that really happen, there have been campaigns to ban it from schools. Morrison is a frequent contributor to the list of most frequently banned and challenged books, so I’m sure she’s used to the attention.
This reader was wearing a Columbia fleece jacket and hat with a logo from some sort of outdoor adventures outfit. I figured the book would involve a strong male protagonist physically overpowering his obstacle. Probably outside. In the woods. With his bare hands and, like, his resolve. The only thing I could make out was the word “Jumbee.” So you can imagine my surprise when I searched online (you’re welcome Google) for “Jumbee” and “book” and found a book called “The Jumbee” with this as its description:
When Esti Legard starts theater school on Cariba, she’s determined to step out of the shadow of her late father, a famous Shakespearean actor. But on an island rife with superstition, Esti can’t escape the darkness. In the black of the theater, an alluring phantom voice-known only as Alan-becomes her brilliant drama tutor, while in the light of day Esti struggles to resist her magnetic attraction to Rafe, the local bad boy. Toppled sets, frightening rumors of jumbee ghosts, and brewing tropical storms culminate in a tantalizingly spooky finale where romance sizzles and truths are unmasked. Laced with eerie mystery and the lush scenery of the West Indies, this modern Phantom is perfect for readers who like their love stories served with spine-tingling suspense.
Romance? Theater? DRAMA TUTOR? Now that just can’t be right. Apparently a Jumbee is a “type of mythological spirit or demon” in the folklore of several Caribbean nations, so it’s quite possible he is reading some other, perhaps more difficult-to-find-out-of-print book about some 18th century British colonialist encountering and tangling with the Jumbees summoned by a local Voodoo Witch MD/PhD in Montserrat. Yeah. I like the sound of that.
Growing up, I loved reading the tales spun by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The mystery and intrigue drew me in and was tempered only by my oscillating feelings of whether Holmes was a misunderstood genius or just an asshole with a knack for observation. When I saw this title on the train the other day, it reminded me of Sherlock Holmes. Many of Doyle’s short stories have similar titles.
Turns out I was playing right into the hands of the
evil Professor Moriarty author Mark Haddon, whose protagonist, an autistic teenager, actually loves the logical Sherlock Holmes and brings to mind he of the The Seven-Per-Cent Solution himself. So, good title there Mr. Haddon. With one glance you had me on 221B Baker Street.
I had a similar experience one time when I accidentally fell asleep on the train and ended up in Fremont. Rumor has it that this is at the Montgomery Station.