26 December 2010

Day 274: Lament

Lament by Maggie Stiefvater.  ISBN: 9780738713700.

I got quite a shock from this book, one that I expect I will receive in person someday.  I don't expect to stay in Ohio for the rest of my life, or even in the next five years, so there is a possibility I will have to be exposed to that most horrible of things: fairy minions that want to date me smoking in restaurants.  Yeah, this is set in Virginia, and along with a few other states in the US, they still allow smoking in restaurants apparently (something I tend to forget).

Of all the things that Ohio has done right, banning smoking in bars, restaurants, and hospitals is at the top of the list.  I actually remember this going into effect and being SO FREAKING EXCITED that I could actually sit in a bar a drink a microbrew without worrying about how long it would be before I started having minor breathing problems and had to go home.  And the idea of eating around secondhand smoke is entirely unappealing to me.  This has become true the longer I have been away from my father.

You see, I have a bit of a past with secondhand smoke.  My father smokes cigarettes and was the only adult in my family that smoked around me.  One of the things that made it easier for me not to pick up smoking was the discomfort it always seemed to cause him.  He never looked relaxed when he was smoking, which was so at odds with the cigarette commercials that came on TV at the time.

By the time my parents were separated I was thoroughly addicted to secondhand smoke.  It got so bad that when my father started spending less time at the house I would stare at the pack of cigarettes he left on the table and think about smoking one.  I wanted a cigarette even though I had no desire to become a smoker.  I could even taste it and feel it on my lips.  I had dreams about smoking.  I even had withdrawal symptoms, mostly headaches and dry mouth.  There were times I actually had to go out with smokers and hang around them so my headaches would go away.

I was thirteen when my father left the house.  Ten years later, I am now disgusted by the thought of even being near someone while they smoke.  Sometimes the smell of cigarette smoke on someone's clothes will make me gag.  It still surprises me to see so many people my age and younger who are smoking.  I do believe that taking it out of restaurants is a positive step on our country's health.  There is no reason to expose a large number of people to that kind of thing, and if people really need their after dinner cigarette they can always go out to their cars and smoke.  In the meantime, it means kids see it less often and it is hopefully becoming more abnormal than normal. 

I think it's rather a positive thing that I had to pause while reading Luke's request for the non-smoking section, because even if smoking isn't disappearing, at least its public presence and acceptability is.

My review can be found at Goodreads.  I also found Donna's review at Bites to be pretty accurate.
LibsNote: I received a free copy of this book from a publisher's booth at ALA 2010.  Yes, I am still reading through that stack of books.  Also, my fiance wants it noted for the record that the juxtaposition of the knife blade with the title makes it look like "LAME NT".  I kind of have to agree with that assessment, and would do so regardless of whether or not I liked the book.


  1. Despite the fact that I still want to tell the host(ess) "non-smoking" when I go to a restaurant, I think it's great that we've already all but forgotten what smoking is like. Being in other states, or even watching old movies where everyone smoked all the freaking time, is kind of a trip into the Twilight Zone anymore.

  2. Dan,
    Try looking at author photos from about 20 years ago. In most of them, they're smoking. There was even a big debate about whether a photo of Dr. Seuss should be photoshopped because he was smoking a cigarette in it. I can't remember what the final decision was, but it's interesting that it even came up as an issue.


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