It's funny. You love something and then one day it's suddenly gone or changed or lost forever. But somehow that doesn't stop your love. Maybe that's how you know it's the real thing. When it doesn't come with conditions and get-out clauses, when it doesn't have a best-by date. When you just give your love and never stop giving it and know that you never will. That's when it is real. That's when they can never touch it or spoil it or take it away from you."-One for my Baby
My criterion for rating a book depends on how many times it made me go “Hmmm, that makes sense”.
For me, a good book is something that should make us pause and think about our life – past, present or future.
Tony Parsons has that gift.
He can turn simple, unassuming sentences into realistic philosophical inquiries on life and relationships. Like when he asks:
“Because how do you find a substitute for the love of your life? And why would you want to?”
Much like Nick Hornby, Tony Parsons writes about the quintessential lost boy/man. But in this book, he made being a “loser” look cool.
His main character Alfie, once had it all – a loving wife, a fulfilling job as a teacher in Hong Kong and a bright future.
Then fate decided to intervene. Alfie lost his wife in a diving accident. And he decided that he’s had his chance in life.
“If you have endless goes at getting it right, then you will never get it right. Not even once. Because constantly starting again turns the best thing in the world into just another takeaway. Fast love. Junk love. Love to go.”
We witness how he goes from one relationship to another and destroys the only friendship he’s ever had.
You might think that this is a sad book. Actually it’s not. You just have to be optimistic to appreciate it.
I’ve also come to learn a new Chinese saying: Eat the cold porridge.
According to the book:
"Eating the cold porridge means working at something for so long that when you get home there is nothing left to eat but cold porridge
You work at it when the others are playing.
You work at it when the others are watching television.
You work at it when the others are sleeping.
To become the master of something, you must eat the cold porridge"
I do not mind eating cold porridge. As long as I eat ice cream afterwards. I like to reward myself sometimes.